Gilbert and Sullivan Society brings out The Gondoliers

The Gondoliers are coming to Sidney's Mary Winspear Centre for three shows this weekend.

Actors with the Victoria Gilbert and Sullivan Society bring The Gondoliers to Sidney’s Mary Winspear Centre April 1 to 3.

The Gondoliers are coming to the Mary Winspear Centre for three shows this weekend.

Put on by the Victoria Gilbert and Sullivan Society, the performance is set in Venice. Two Gondoliers, Marco and Giuseppe, have turned the heads of pretty contadine (young maidens). They must then pick their brides out of 24.

“It’s a very funny show and typical of Gilbert’s stories, and of course Sullivan’s music is absolutely brilliant, but typical of Gilbert’s stories is … there are all these convoluted stories that all work out happily ever after in the end,” said producer of the show, Elizabeth Sly, who is also in the show as well as part of the women’s chorus.

Her partner and president of the Society, Adrian Sly will also be in The Gondoliers. The pair have been acting together since the early 1980s and actually met at the Gilbert and Sullivan Society in Halifax.

“And they’re so much fun. I’ve been doing them all my life, I started when I was a kid in school,” said Adrian on Gilbert and Sullivan shows.

He will play Don Alhambra del Bolero, the Grand Inquisitor of Spain.

“I’m the bad guy. I often get the bad guy parts. I don’t know why,” he laughed.

The cast is large, consisting of 17 principle actors and around 35 people all together on stage.

“We have a very strong cast,” said Adrian, adding they have a new actor on stage this year who will be playing the Duke of Plaza Toro.

This year is particularly special, as they have for the first time B.C.’s Lieutenant-Governor coming to attend opening night on Friday April 1. The Hon. Judith Guichon will be piped in and the orchestra will play the Royal Anthem.

One of the challenges the Slys had with the show was actually finding a place to build their set. Elizabeth said they were lucky to find St. Andrews School to use their double wide trailers to build their set.

“The cost of running these productions is always going up,” she said.

The Society holds one big show a year with a smaller production in the fall to raise money for the large show. All of the actors are in the Society itself, but have other commitments.

“They’re all people who have regular jobs. We have doctors, lawyers, garbage men, people who work for the government … we have every profession there is,” said Elizabeth with a laugh.

The first show will take place this Friday night (April 1) at 8 p.m. at the Mary Winspear Centre, the second on Saturday, April 2 at 2 p.m. and the third, April 3 at 2 p.m. Tickets are available through the Mary Winspear Centre. There will also be three shows at the McPherson Playhouse in Victoria the following week.

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