Double Feature: Cox and Box & The Carp

Throughout the Spring of 2021, we scoured the archives in search of something incredibly rare: a comic opera not yet performed by LOpSoc in all its 50 years. We finally found one; originally written as a companion piece to The Mikado, Desprez and Cellier’s ‘The Carp’ has been performed alongside many G&S shows… but never by LOpSoc. This summer, we’re pairing ‘The Carp’ with Sullivan’s first ever successful comic opera, ‘Cox and Box’, in a brand new, online Double Feature! With a hilarious libretto by F.C. Burnand, ‘Cox and Box’ was written 5 years before Gilbert and Sullivan’s prodigious partnership and has not been performed by LOpSoc since 2013...

‘Cox and Box’ is a one-act show that combines the ridiculous and the dramatic in a story of a crooked landlord who has somehow tricked two unsuspecting lodgers into renting the same room…. At the same time. Pandemonium ensues when the two eventually meet and discover that, not only are they unwitting roommates, but are engaged to the same person…... And might be long lost siblings? ‘The Carp’ meanwhile, is a tale of two broken-hearted people whose chance meeting at a forest pool brings another chance at love. Not that this matters to the grouchy fisherman who stands vigil at the pool, intent on his life-long ambition to catch The Elusive Carp. A story of finding love when you least expect it, the Carp blends humour and romance in a comic, whimsical farce!

Production Team

Director: Renata Stella
Musical Director: Billy Boulton
Producer: Kira Jukes
Assistant Producer: Pin Hong Wong

Principal Cast

Cox: Martha Fooks
Box: Pete Alexander
Bouncer: Joel Parkinson

Amanda: Kira Jukes
Amandus: Jared Wason
Piscator: Jemimah Alam

HMS Pinafore 2020

In Spring 2020 LOpSoc brought the internationally renowned H.M.S. Pinafore to The Annex Theatre! As we neared our 50th Anniversary we decided to take a look back at the show that launched the Savoy Operas onto the international stage. H.M.S. Pinafore was the first of Gilbert and Sullivan's Light Operas to make a splash across the Atlantic with numerous 'pirate productions' popping up across the US enabled by their lax international copyright laws. In celebration of that golden era we kept the setting almost unchanged. We followed the crew of a Victorian Naval Galley on the day the Lord Admiral of the Navy payed a visit.

The H.M.S. Pinafore is a British Navy vessel crewed by the very best of Great Britain's naval officers. The gallant Captain Corcoran rules with an even temper, the very definition of firm but fair. The captain is well liked by all his crew but for the lowly sailor Ralph Rackstraw the captain's daughter is the most important person on the Pinafore. Josephine has lived aboard the Pinafore with her doting farther as long as Ralph can remember and he has loved her for almost as long. He has kept his affections hidden, knowing full well the uproar there would be at a common sailor marrying a captain's daughter. Meanwhile, Josephine is doing her best to play the part of the dutiful daughter in the lead up to meeting her future husband Sir Joseph, Lord Admiral of the Navy, but she finds herself besotted with the handsome, intelligent Ralph Rackstraw. In spite of her feelings she is committed to making her father happy and agrees to go ahead with the marriage, promising to keep her true wishes hidden. But when Sir Joseph proclaims that "A British sailor is any man's equal" Ralph is filled with new confidence and consults his shipmates in preparation to announce his love that night. Josephine is caught between her infatuation with this daring sailor and her love for her father and with the wedding just days away the captain begins to get anxious about the sudden change in the behaviour of his crew. Ralph and Josephine both must choose between love and duty as the traditionalists of the crew mount forces against them and dark secrets, locked in the murky depths of history for decades, begin to rear their ugly head once more...

Production Team

Directors: Joel Parkinson and Luke Comerford
Musical Director: Pete Alexander
Costumes and Props: Tori Arnold, Annabelle Sessions and Daniel Williams-Brown
Graphics and Publicity: Kira Jukes and Jared Wason
Technical Team: Stage Technician's Society (StageSoc)

Principal Cast

Ralph Rackstraw: Martha Fooks
Josephine Corcoran: Annabelle Sessions
Captain Corcoran: George Smith
Sir Joseph Porter: Joel Parkinson
Dick Deadeye: John Hawk
Bill Bobstay: Yihang Li
Buttercup: Victoria Arnold
Cousin Hebe: Kira Jukes
Bob Becket: Luke Comerford

Double Feature 2019

In the summer of 2019, LOpSoc brought two shows in as many acts to The Annex Theatre for our Double Feature of G&S' Trial by Jury and Sullivan and Rowe's The Zoo. Like our production of Patience in the summer of 2018, these shows were forward to the (relatively) modern day. We set Trial in a 90s reality TV courtroom broadcast under the name The Judge Goode Show. The Learned Judge became an acerbic reality show star, The Usher a highly strung executive producer and the chorus of bridesmaids a rowdy hen party. The events of The Zoo took place down the road from our TV studio as members the jury and the Judge Goode production crew tried to enjoy a day at the zoo. The tranquil setting was interrupted by the hectic love stories that remain almost unchanged from the original Libretto.

The lights come up on the set, the theme tune begins to play, And over a loud speaker you hear "The Judge Good Show is filmed in front of a live studio audience!" The Executive producer can be seen rushing through the audience and picking members to act as jurors on the show. He gives them strict instructions to hold today's defendant in contempt. Edwin, the defendant, is greeted to the set to the sound of a booing audience. Edwin is accused of breaking the promise of marriage and, though still hostile as instructed, the Jury begin to sympathise with Edwin in his unhappy engagement. Then, the plaintiff enters, and everyone immediately falls in love with her. The Executive Producer watches in horror as more and more convoluted solutions are suggested by all on set and the show flies out of his control...

Around the same time, we bump into some familiar faces from the set of The Judge Goode show on a relaxing day out to the zoo. Everyone is gathered for the opening of the new bear pit. The calm is suddenly interrupted by a distraught Æsculapius Carboy rushing in and announcing he is emigrating abroad. He explains he has been communicating with his girlfriend, Lætitia Grinder, behind her father's back by writing on the labels of medication he's been prescribing them as their pharmacist. He has received news that there had been a mix up of Lætitia and her Father's medicine with fatal consequences. Just as Carboy is about to flee the scene in guilt, Lætitia appears claiming that letter containing news of the mix up was a joke from her sister, and declares her love for Carboy. Their happiness doesn't last long, however. Mr Grinder enters and refuses to let the couple marry. Meanwhile, a mysterious stranger by the name of Thomas is going to great lengths to impress Eliza, the owner of the zoo's cafe. As we learn more about Thomas, the fates of Carboy and Lætitia become irreversibly tied to him and Eliza, and hope begins to resurface. All throughout, Mr Grinder watches from afar, plotting his next move.

Production Team

Directors: Joseph Hand and Jesse Bean McCabe
Musical Directors: Delyth Simons and Billy Boulton
Assistant Musical Directors: David Child and Fiona Sunderland
Producers: Joel Parkinson, Fiona Sunderland, and Peter Alexander
Makeup: Charlie Dawkins
Hair: Annabelle Sessions
Technical Team: Stage Technician's Society (StageSoc)

Principal Cast

Trial by Jury

The Learned Judge: Daniel Williams-Brown
The Plaintiff: Victoria Arnold
The Defendant: Pete Alexander
Counsel for the Plaintiff: Katie Giles
The Usher: Ben Walker
Foreman of the Jury: Sebastian Graves-Read
The Associate: Mia Green
First Bridesmaid: Megan Warinton

The Zoo

Æsculapius Carboy: Luke Comerford
Lætitia Grinder: Annabelle Sessions
Thomas Brown: Rob Parker
Eliza Smith: Martha Fooks
Mr. Grinder: Joel Parkinson

Princess Ida

For the first time in nine years LOpSoc brought Gilbert and Sullivan's eighth operetta to the Annex Theatre! To recapture the begrudging tolerance and cooperation of the two neighbouring kingdoms described in the original libretto we set our production in an Early Medieval England. The Hildebrands were the rulers of of a Anglo-Saxon kingdom and Gama was the Jarl of a local Viking settlement seeking to increase his legitimacy and influence by marrying his daughter into the royal line. Ida's women's university became Fort Adamant, a new invention better understood by the more liberal Viking community but ultimately unacceptable to the Anglo-Saxons. LOpSoc started 2019 with another fresh re-imagining of a classic Savoy opera!

Prince Hilarion, heir to an Anglo-Saxon kingdom, was betrothed to Ida, daughter of the Jarl presiding over a local Viking settlement, when they were infants. The two have been separated ever since. Our story unfolds as Hilarion and the court of his father, King Hildebrand, await the arrival of Ida and her family for the long awaited marriage, only to find Ida has disappeared! Jarl Gama and his family explain that Ida has forsworn all men and founded a Women's University. As tensions rise between the two rulers Hilarion proposes he travels to Fort Adamant to remind Ida of her betrothal. Disguised as students at the fort the Prince and his friends, Cyril and Florian, begin their mission to woo Ida into accepting the marriage. But as more and more of the student body discover their true identities, chaos ensues within the university. And beyond the walls, King Hildebrand is amassing an army with the promise to aid his son by any means necessary...

Production Team

Directors: Delyth Simons and Martha Fooks
Musical Directors: Mara Zimmermann and Amber Courage
Assistant Musical Director: David Child
Choreographer: Andrew Rose
Producers: Daniel Williams-Brown and Peter Alexander
Graphic Design: Renata Stella
Technical Team: Stage Technician's Society (StageSoc)

Principal Cast

Princess Ida: Bridie Strachan
Prince Hilarion: Luke Comerford
Lady Psyche: Katie Giles
Lady Blanch: Billy Boulton
Lady Melissa: Victoria Arnold
King Hildebrand: Joseph Hand
Florian: Joel Parkinson
Cyril: Pete Alexander
Jarl Gama: Nick Davis
Arac: Sebastian Graves-Read
Guron: Ariel Cahn
Scynthius: Tim Pellew
Sacharissa: Annabelle Sessions
Chloe: Jesse Bean McCabe
Ada: Megan Warinton

Patience (Summer 2018)

For the first time in its history, LOpSoc performed Patience, the sixth operatic collaboration between Gilbert and Sullivan. The original show is a love story set in a parody on the aesthetic movement of the 1870’s and 80’s. However, it comments more broadly on fad culture in general, and the superficiality and pretentiousness of such movements. Therefore, from the Victorian countryside, LOpSoc's Patience was moved onto an early 2000’s bustling London street. Rather than Oscar Wilde-like dandies, the poets became avant-garde hipsters. The cavalry regiment became a rugby team, and Patience went from milkmaid to barista. A unique production that brought this comedic ‘coming of age’ story into the 21st Century!

A group of trendy young ladies in London, rapturously caught up in the hipster fashion, are in love with two promising rival poets. But the poets have no interest in the ladies, as they are both fighting for the love of Patience, a simple barista, who cares nothing for fashion and has never been in love all her life. Patience believes that true love must be completely unselfish - it must wither and sting and burn! Meanwhile, the players of "The Dragoons", the local rugby team, are all broken-hearted as the ladies have eyes only for the hipster poets. Even though they don't see the point to fashion, the team decides to give it a try in order to win the ladies' hearts...

Production Team

Director: Abby Pardoe
Creative Director: Rhona Graham
Musical Directors: Bridie Strachan and Tim Lutton
Assistant Musical Director: Liam Chan
Choreographer: Clementine Chirol
Producer: Delyth Simons
Technical Director: Edmund King
Technical Team: Stage Technician's Society (StageSoc)

Principal Cast

Patience: Amber Courage
Bunthorne: Daniel Williams-Brown
Jane: Martha Fooks
Grosvenor: Tom Hudson
Angela: Victoria Arnold
Saphir: Rhiannon Creffield
Ella: Katie Giles
Colonel: Billy Boulton
Major: Philip Needle
Duke: George Smith
The Solicitor: Domas Navikas

Ruddygore (Spring 2018)

"The Annex was absolutely magical. " - The Edge review

This unique production was set in a folk festival, with a visual aesthetic and dance style to match. The music has been completely rearranged, faithful to the original melodies, with a new reduced score for a folk band and full SATB chorus numbers throughout. The libretto was kept faithful to the original, making this an inventive new take on this classic operetta.

The baronets of Ruddygore have been cursed, and must commit a heinous crime each day or perish in a torturous death. However, the rightful heir to the baronetcy is in hiding, safe from the curse and all it entails... Rose Maybud is secretly in love with Robin Oakapple. While the two youths struggle to confess their love for one another, Robin's foster brother, Richard Dauntless, asks for Rose's hand in marriage. Robin comes forward at the last minute, and proposes to marry Rose as well. Meanwhile, Sir Despard, the current baronet of Ruddygore, learns that his elder brother whom he believed to be dead not only is still alive, but is also one of Rose Maybud's suitors. Despard takes this opportunity to set himself free from the curse of Ruddygore, passing it on to his brother... Who will inherit the witch’s curse? And what does Basingstoke have to do with all of this? Romance, ghosts, ceilidhs, magic, action, folk music and hilarious comedy met in the Annex stage.

Production Team

Director: Lucy Rose
Assistant Director: Michelle McInnes
Musical Directors: Isaac Treuherz, Hannah Parsons and Liam Chan
Choreographer: Owain Boorman and Michelle McInnes
Producer: Jamie Hizzett and Tim Lutton
Costumes: Delyth Simons and Eris Perring
Technical Director: Edmund King
Assistant Technical Director: Kit Grange
Technical Team: Stage Technician's Society (StageSoc)

Principal Cast

Robin Oakapple: Phil Needle
Rose Maybud: Bridie Strachan
Frances Fearless: Abby Pardoe
Sir Despard Murgatroyd: David Child
Mad Margaret: Jesse Bean McCabe
Sir Roderick Murgatroyd: Richard Kille
Dame Hannah: Ella Sabine
Old Adam: Billy Boulton
Zorah: Amber Courage
Ruth: Rhona Graham

The Mikado (Spring 2017)

LOpSoc went once again on the Nuffield Theatre stage with a fresh and unique production of “The Mikado”, one of the most loved and best lasting Gilbert & Sullivan operettas. With a new aesthetic twist and setting, witty libretto and gorgeous music, a production to please newcomers and G&S fans alike.

"The outcome? Another wonderdul performance. " - Soton Tab review

"...a brave attempt to explore a different side of the Japanese culture. " - Daily Echo review

The tale begins when three children decide to fold origami figures. They play with their creations, naming each one and imagining a story for them. However the three friends do not always agree on the proceedings... Nanki-Poo, son of the Mikado, fled the imperial court to escape marriage with Katisha. Disguised, he falls in love with Yum-Yum, who is already betrothed to her guardian Ko-Ko, the soft-hearted Lord High Executioner of Titipu. Meanwhile, Katisha discovers Nanki-Poo's whereabouts, and the Mikado send orders that an execution must happen within a month if the town wishes to keep its status. Intersecting love triangles, political intrigue, disguised identities and a lot of origami meet in Titipu!

Production Team

Directors: Billy Boulton & George Smith
Musical Director: David Child
Assistant Musical Directors:
Natasha Bennetts & Liam Chan
Choreographer: Renata Stella
Head Producer: Renata Stella
Producers: Isaac Treuherz, Lucy Rose & Venetia Matthews
Costumes: Amber Courage & Eris Perring
Technical Directors: David Young & Tom Pell

Technical Crew: Stage Technician's Society (StageSoc)
and NST Technicians

Principal Cast

Yum-Yum: Amy Wardle
Pitti-Sing: Emma Paull
Peep-Bo: Amber Courage
Katisha: Jenny Samuel
Nanki-Poo: Barnaby Wilson
Ko-Ko: Ben Walker
Pooh-Bah: Phil Needle
Pish-Tush: Richard Kille
The Mikado: Joe Hand
Wendy: Nadia Fundell
Peter: Patrick Edwards
James: Isaac Treuherz

Half a Sixpence (Summer 2017)

A musical based on the novel "Kipps " by H G Wells.Book by Beverley Cross. Music and lyrics by David Heneker. This amateur production is presented by arrangement with Josef Weienbeger LTD.

LOpSoc presented a performance of the vibrant and energetic musical 'Half a Sixpence' in June 2017. The play opens in Shalford’s Drapery Emporium where Kipps works and lives as an apprentice draper. Ann, Kipps’ childhood sweetheart, is in service so they don't get much chance to see each other. Kipps thinks that a lover’s token might help the romance, but the next day brings news that is to change his life. He is marched off to join his woodwork class run by Helen Walsingham. Ann is cross and walks out on him just before he learns that he has inherited a fortune. Spurred on by his new social standing Kipps proposes to Helen, but her family pressure makes him realise that Ann is his first and real love. Kipps and Ann marry but his yearning to maintain his social standing creates problems between them...

Production Team

Directors: Venetia Matthews & Nadia Fundell
Assistant Director: Abigail Smith
Musical Directors: Natasha Bennetts & Emma Paull
Assistant Musical Director: Amy Wardle
Choreography: Victoria Howard-Andrews & Emily Gray
Creative Producer: Isaac Treuherz
Publicity Producer: Patrick Edwards
Wardrobe: Guillemette Rident & Michelle McInnes
Technical Directors: George Tucker and Phoebe Sarah
Technical Crew: Stage Technician's Society (StageSoc)

Principal Cast

Arthur Kipps: Maciek Shasha
Ann: Ella Sabine
Helen: Lucia Watts
Sid: Ben Walker
Buggins: Philip Needle
Pearce: David Child
Flo: Megan Warinton
Victoria: Damie Oladebo
Kate: Sophie Blundell
Chitterlow: Billy Boulton
Mrs Walsingham: Rhiannon Creffield
Young Walsingham: Barnaby Wilson
Mr Shalford: Jamie Lumsden
Laura: Robyn Hunt
Gwendolin: Katie Giles
Jeremiah: Isaac Treuherz
Deck chair attendant: Patrick Edwards
Photographer: Tom Pell