note: entire contents copyright 2000 by Susan M. Mitton
Gilbert & Sullivan's operetta RUDDIGORE, all about ghosts, curses, and etiquitte, is often underappreciated in light of other shows in the canon that are far more popular (e.g. Pirates, Mikado, HMS Pinafore). But the recent production of Ruddigore put on by the ambitious Sudbury Savoyards is stunningly done and a credit to this group whose participants all volunteer their time and proceeds to the relief of World Hunger in conjunction with the Sudbury United Methodist Church.
From the second the bridesmaids walk on stage to the final chord, this show is excitement, color and talent. The costumes, cleverly and professionally designed by Terri Meehan, and the sets, amazingly detailed and intricately painted due to the creativity of set designer Dave Kay and the expertise of long-time member & Technical Director Tom Powers help to make this production the success that it is. Kathy Lague, stage director for the past three years, has reached a new high showing us that the text is funny enough without over-the-top schtick that some groups rely upon for their productions. The show is well cast and the actors and singers do just that: act and sing superbly! Rose Maybud is cleverly and coquettishly portrayed by the talented Zoe Daniel. Ms. Daniel is a new leading lady to the group, but someone we certainly hope to see more of in future productions. Todd Allen Long portrays the whiny Robin Oakapple (aka Ruthven Murgatroyd), the central character of the show. Long's voice is strong and clear and his acting is top-notch. His interactions with Rose Maybud and Richard Dauntless (portrayed by the talented and funny Dana Merrill) are some of the highlights of the show. I would be remiss without mentioning the stellar performace of Amy E. Allen in the role of Mad Margaret. Allen has been seen for the past several years in leading roles with the Savoyards, but this portrayal is by far one of her best. Not only is her gorgeous, soaring voice suited to the music she sings, but her interpretation of the role is one of the best this long-time G&S fan has seen. Stealing the show with her rubber-faced expressions and contagious cackling, Allen's Mad Margaret is lovable and amusing. Peter Stark as Despard Murgatroyd is perfectly cast. Stark's deliberation and flare for the melodramatic make him a pleasure to listen to and watch on stage. Laura Gouillart portrays a frisky and doting Dame Hannah, and her duet with Tom Weber (Roderic Murgatroyd) is beautifully done. Their voices blend wonderfully and their repartee on stage is delightful. Tony Parkes sings strongly and acts appropriately as the manservant Old Adam, and newcomer to the group Mary Bulger portrays a bossy but in-control Zorah and sings her solos with precision and talent. Overall, this show couldn't have been cast better, and high praise is due Steven Malionek. Having played for years in the pit for Sudbury, Malionek has taken the podium with force and confidence. The chorus is quite strong, with flawless diction and wonderful intonation. The leads are, as mentioned above, strong and talented. Bravo, Sudbury Savoyards!
-Susan M. Mitton
Show times remaining are this Thursday at 8pm, Friday at 8pm, and Saturday at 2pm & 8pm. Call 978-443-8811 for tickets or visit their website at www.sudburysavoyards.org.