Even though it all begins with one lone piano in the near-darkness, like Peter Brook's dead-on-arrival Mozart the other week, you know there have to be more engaging things in store when Christopher Mundy gives us much of Sullivan's best overture with an energy that already leaves that fey Flute behind in a much more torpid dreamworld. Once the story is truly kicked into action by boys with torchlights, picking up a dusty old score of Iolanthe on a debris-laden stage with a Narnian-suggestive wardrobe, there are no cuts and no compromise in the feminine register of our fairies (Matthew McLaughlin, Patrick George and Joseph Davenport pictured above) - and surely no D'Oyly Carte chorines would have been up to the mark of Mark Smith's choreography, with graceful sign language to complement all that tripping hither. I don't know how much has been changed since the show's sell-out start in Regan's tiny Union Theatre, but the present venue fits it like a silk glove.
Stewart Charlesworth's fantastical designs look weird but not kinky, with lacy white underwear for the fairy ladyboys, dressing gowns and eccentric paraphernalia for the rhubarbing old lords with whom they come into conflict. Actually the "Entry of the Peers" seems to be whipping up cachuchas, fandangos and boleros from another G&S work, but all this busy going against the pompous grain certainly has everyone working with tireless energy; and later, Private Willis - company "dance captain" Raymond Tait, deadpan-funny - does a Scots jig in front of the curtain rather than a solemn strut before parliament in the immortal "Sentry's Song". 041b061a72