The Gondoliers 1988

<— Previous show: Highlights From The Grand Duke / Next show: The Zoo 1988 —>

The Gondoliers was the 16th show performed by the society. It was performed in Central Hall on 18th-20th February 1988.

The chair was Jo McAndrews.




Stage Director
Farah Mendlesohn

Musical Director
Nick Williams


The Duke of Plaza-Toro - David Pond
Luiz - Simon Stannard
Don Alhambra del Bolero - Bruce Walton
Marco Palmieri - Ashley Wilson
Giuseppe Palmieri - Daniel Jenkins
Antonio - Don Goodeve
Francesco - Dale Tranter
Giorgio - James Geldard
Annibale - Penny Bickley
The Duchess of Plaza-Toro - Stephanie McIver
Casilda - Rachel French
Gianetta - Sally Morris
Tessa - Paula Gentil
Fiametta - Jill Perry
Vittoria - Jo McAndrews
Giulia - Lesley Coldham
Inez - Judy Sutherland

Simon Bartlett
Penelope Bickley
Louise Brown
Rob Clark
Mark Grainger
Keith Hall
Douglas Jones
Julie Leydon
Tricia Matthews
Kenneth Pratt
David Pumfrey
Mike Smith
Andrew Wrigglesworth

Catherine Anderson
Wendy Beale
Helen Briggs
Ana Brewster
Rosalind Coon
Marian Douche
Alison Duncum
Susannah Gort
Rosie Hill
Davina Land
Alison Hulford
Lynda Johnson
Maggie Johnson
Charlotte Moodie
Alison Nock
Lynda Richardson
Sue Shave
Denise Squires
Pippa Stowell
Rachel Threadkell
Alison Tippett
Inge van Eyck
Stephanie Walter

Production Team

Choreography - Lynn Brown
Repetiteur - Sue Hair
Stage Manager- Bruce Walton
Assistant Stage Manager - Patrick Couzens
Production Manager - Alisa Carter-Waller
Executive Production Manager (Everybody's Assistant) - Simon Bradley
Set Design and Construction - David Pumfrey
Lighting Engineer - Martin Atkins
Sound Engineer - Malcolm Heath
Stage Crew - Richard Burton, Matthew Day, Juliette Fox, Rupert Hoare, Olivia Rhee, Ian Wesley
Costume Design and Manufacture - Wendy Beale, Alison Tippett
Make-Up - Fiona Penkett, Ruth Sherratt
Publicity - Bruce Walton, Don Goodeve
Photography - David Pond, Patrick Couzens
Flowers by - Simon, Alisa, Rupert and Matthew
Front of House Co-Ordinator - Daniel Jenkins
Front of House - Alistair Austin, Rachel Brown, Susan Igo, Derek Parsons, Fiona Peckett and others
Programme Editor - Bruce Walton
Poster Design - Alison Hulford


President - Michael Green
Vice-President - Patrick Moore
Hon. Vice-President - Frank Banks

Chairperson - Jo McAndrews
Secretary - Jill Perry
Treasurer - David Pond
Costumes Officers - Wendy Beale, Alison Tippett
Production - Simon Bradley
Publicity, Room Bookings and Charities - Don Goodeve
Music - Daniel Jenkins
Communications - David Pumfrey
Press Relations - Bruce Walton

Extended Programme


The Duke of Plaza-Toro- David Pond
A second-year Maths/ Physics student from Crawley in Sussex, David has appeared previously in Savoy Operas both on stage and in the orchestra pit, playing his trumpet. He has played Luiz in a previous production of The Gondoliers and sang in the chorus of our production of Iolanthe last year, as well as trumpeting through 2 operas under the baton. He is currently the society treasurer. And what was it that we did last year, David?

Luiz- Simon Stannard
Another musician, Simon is a keen player of oboe concertos as well as being a choral singer at school in Bristol. He is a third-year Economics/ History student, and an enthusiastic performer even though he was heard to claim after the auditions that he wanted to be cast as the Duchess in drag.

Don Alhambra Del Bolero- Bruce Walton
A grizzled veteran of many previous shows, Bruce has had his oar in every show since 1983 in a variety of roles including stage manager, committee members, chorus member and soloist. Keen Gilbert and Sullivan watchers may have seen him play Sir Joesph Porter in York Youth Operatic Society's production of HMS Pinafore last September. He has been described as the first ever Scottish G&S-dependent junkie. Don Alhambra Del Bolero is 78.

Marco Palmieri- Ashley Wilson
Ashley is reputed to be something rather important in the Biology Department, but is much better known as the tenor who has been singing romantic leads since most of tonight's cast were still in diapers. He has sung with the society since 1974, with perhaps his most memorable lead role being his performance as Ralph Rackstraw in our 1985 production of HMS Pinafore.

Giuseppe Palmieri- Daniel Jenkins
Dan is an unassuming second-year Historian from London, whose only previous claim to musical fame was appearing in several shows, including Oliver, while at school. Having been plucked from the obscurity of being the committee's hard-working musical rep. to the dizziest heights of stardom in singing alongside Ashley, he has remained cautious and humble- "I'm terrified" he said, when he saw the cast list.

Antonio- Don Goodeve
Don is a second-year Engineering student, who is one of the society's most regular performers- with his guitar, busking on Stonegate. His casting in the part of Antonio was greeted with universal acclaim, as it meant that he would have to learn a tune that isn't from The Grand Duke.

Francesco- Dale Tranter
Dale's singing career has taken a great leap into this twelve-word tenor part, after previously playing the twisted bass Dick Deadeye in York Youth's 1987 production of HMS Pinafore. He is an Economics graduate of the University of Hull now working for General Accident in York, and lists his interests as Oscar Wilde and the Wombles.

Giorgio- James Geldard
James is a second-year English student from Leicester, and is a keen cricketer, probably an opening batsman. This is his debut solo part, after being in the chorus in last year's show, and in a church choir.

Annibale- Penny Bickley
Penny has been in our midst for only a short time, but has already created a stir by being the first woman to land a male principal part with the society (although not the first transvestite principal from either sex). However purists will be glad to note that this is a non-singing male part- Penny's voice was too low for the singing parts.

The Duchess of Plaza-Toro- Stephanie McIvor
Steph is from Glasgow, making her the second Scottish principal in this show. Her family are farmers, which apparently explains her fondness for wearing boots. She has had a musical background as a member of the Scottish National Opera's junior chorus, but has never sung a female solo part before- her previous roles have included the Tin Man in The Wizard of Oz, and Luiz in The Gondoliers, making her the third principal to have made her G&S début in this role. Life is full of meaningless coincidences.

Casilda- Rachel French
Rachel has impressive dramatic pedigree- she is a member of the National Youth Theatre, with whom her début role was as a card table, and her most recent appearance was in Murder in the Cathedral in London. Although English, she has lived for many years in Holland, and her potential is more than admirably expressed in this quote describing her in a school performance of The King and I as having "een uitzonderlijk goed zanggeluid". (The Haagse Courant- honestly, I'm not joking).

Gianetta- Sally Morris
Sally has been with the society since making her début as Josephine in our 1985 production of HMS Pinafore. She has sung principal roles in many productions, including West Side Story and Iolanthe twice. She has returned to the university this year to complete an MA in Medieval Studies, which is apparently all about dirty old monks.

Tessa- Paula Gentil
Paula is a second-year Archaeologist whose only previous singing experience was in the chorus of Iolanthe last year, but who has shown some aptitude for making a fool of herself by taking ballet lessons back home in Blackpool.It is a totally meaningless coincidence that she was born in the same hospital in Manchester, and within a few months of, our director.

Fiametta- Jill Perry
Jill told me nothing about her except that she was a third-year History student from Ryegate, and why didn't I just go and read last year's programme? Perusal of this document has told me that she has been a principal for the last two years, has sung many other lead parts in musicals, is the society secretary and is generally infallible and omnipotent. I should have known, really.

Vittoria- Jo McAndrews
Jo is this year's society chairperson, and works tirelessly for the society behind the scenes, panicking whenever there's nobody else around to panic. She has a variety of musical experience, having sung principal roles in Savoy Operas at school and at University, and being lead singer with Culture Shock, a local pop group. She wants to travel and become a professional jazz singer.

Giulia- Lesley Coldham
Lesley is a first-year French and Linguistics student from Suffolk, who is making her first appearance as a soloist. She is a member of the University Choir and the Chamber Choir.

Inez- Judy Sutherland
Judy is the wife of a Technician in the Electronics Department, and has a baby daughter. As you would expect from such a mature and responsible person, she has plenty of singing experience from her school in Bishop Auckland, including as previous appearance as Inez in The Gondoliers. She didn't play it quite like this, though!

(An interval of (very, very approximately) three months is supposed to elapse between Act I and Act II).

For The Society

Stage Director- Farah Mendlesohn
Farah is a second-year History student, with an excessive amount of outside interests in addition to her work. Although she has never directed before, she has dramatic experience in the highly successful student play Kiss Punch Goodnight which toured last year's Edinburgh Festival fringe, and has previously sung in several operettas and musicals, including the part of Maid Marion in Robin Hood. She appeared in last year's production of Iolanthe.

Musical Director- Nick Williams
Nick is another society fossil, having been the MD in productions of Princess Ida and The Mikado way back in 1980-81. He is a graduate of the Music Department, and has since been a freelance composer and conductor with an incredible variety of music, including having his own pieces performed on Radio 3 and in the Edinburgh Festival. When drunk, he 'jams' on the viola and waffles idly about Buddhism.

Commentary- Daniel Jenkins

(I write this commentary somewhat removed from the events- it was all three years ago when I was a mere second-year and ordinary member, and time has done its bit to distort the memory so I shall be reasonably brief).

The loss of so many experienced members after Iolanthe looked as if it could be a problem, but a good intake of first years, the "coming of age" of the previous year's intake and the return of Ashley Wilson and Sally Morris did much to redress the balance. The artistic direction was in the very alternative hands of Farah Mendlesohn and Nick Williams (MD of Ida in 1980), and as with "Iolanthe" the raised stage was dispensed with to permit more flexibility, including setting Act II in the "Palais" nightclub, complete with catwalk, glitter curtain and mirror ball.

Visually, the show was very striking: the costumes were almost entirely red, white and black, whilst Dave Pumfrey designed the set, the highlight of which was the neon sign in the nightclub which brought applause from the audience every night. The principals all performed well- Stephanie McIvor in particular as the Duchess of Plaza-Toro made a great impression with her song, reworked into a 1920s Berlin "Cabaret" number. Watch out, Liza Minelli! Daniel Jenkins and Paula Gentil played off their senior mentors, Ashley and Sally, and Bruce Walton made a suitably pompous Grand Inquisitor.

The show certainly had its weaknesses. Many have since questioned the wisdom of having the chorus onstage for all but ten minutes of the show with nothing to do, and the Saturday night audience were unbelievably dead.

But, amidst everything, one moment easily surpassed all the others, particularly on the Saturday matinee. Ashley Wilson has been around for many years and has had many successes, but he can have had few more satisfying than singing "Take A Pair Of Sparkling Eyes". All he had to do was stand in front of the rose trellis and sing- the lights dimmed, the mirror ball revolved, the atmosphere melted, the tears rolled… and 700 senior citizens very nearly gave a standing ovation.

See Also:

The Gondoliers
Jo McAndrews
Farah Mendlesohn
Nick Williams
Ashley Wilson

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License