Words by W.S. Gilbert and Music by Arthur Sullivan
The Guildhall,
March 1967
Cast List
Sir Richard Cholmondeley
Colonel Fairfax
Sergeant Meryll
Leonard Meryll
Jack Point
Wilfred Shadbolt
First Yeoman
Second Yeoman
First Citizen
Second Citizen
Elsie Maynard
Phoebe Meryll
Dame Carruthers

Notes on this performance

40. The Yeomen of the Guard

Mr and Mrs Hoskins save the day…

The influx of talented new members meant the Committee had to consider how best to give them opportunities to play principal parts and a sub-committee looked closely at putting on a second show at the Nuffield. They recommended that different principals should be utilised otherwise ‘the whole object of the second production fails’. It was also thought best to use a different producer and even to make the show a non-traditional one. The possibility of using it to develop an active junior section was even mentioned – this took another 20 years to come to fruition. However, the project foundered on the lack of enthusiasm from the members (only half of them were willing to commit to the project) and the plan seemed destined to go the same way as ‘The Lesser Lights’ idea from the previous decade.

The Yeomen of the Guard was selected as the next production at the Guildhall with Bert Clague and D Cecil Williams again in charge. A change was made to the regular proceedings when it was decided that any presentations after the last performance would be made in the dressing rooms rather than from the stage. It was also decided that should the audience demand any encores then they would be given - provided the MD thought they were justified. 

Although conceding that the Society ‘provided a very solid, and colourful backing to The Yeomen of the Guard’, the Echo review was more subdued than usual, ‘Last night’s production seemed to gather momentum as it went along. The majority of the cast were suffering from first night nerves and lacked confidence in their own ability.’ 

All was not lost though, ‘It took John Hoskins, as Colonel Fairfax, to inject some real life into the production half way through the first act. He is a most competent performer with a fine voice and has the advantage of being a veteran operatic singer. He was almost equalled by Pamela Hoskins as Phoebe, a good singer with a clear and precise voice. The second solo of Phoebe and the introduction of Fairfax to the yeomen made an excellent end to a slightly shaky first act.’

However, there was further criticism and even Tom Judd was not spared, ‘Although the jester, Jack Point, played by Tom Judd, is not supposed to be a very happy character, I felt he could have put more heart into the part. He has some brilliant lines, some very amusing and some equally sad, but his personality does not live up to the colour of his clothes. Valerie Mansell was a very pleasant Elsie but her voice was a little weak at times and difficult to hear. Those first night nerves again.’ But he did add, ‘The vulgar and dirty jailer William Shadbolt was well played by Bernard Harman, as was Sir Richard Cholmondeley by Gerald Warr.’ 

The Yeomen of the Guard still did well at the box office and recorded a pleasing profit of £211 8s 4d (£211.42), all of which was shared between the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Association for the Deaf, the Multiple Sclerosis Society, Oxfam, Bonhomie and the Mayor’s Appeal.

Terry O'Farrell

 Photo of Point

I Have a Song to Sing, O!: Tom Judd (Jack Point) and Valerie Mansell (Elsie Maynard)


 LB books dog

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