Birmingham Savoyards: The Yeomen of the Guard
Tickets: Tue £13; Wed-Fri £15 (Conc £14); Sat £16
The Yeomen of the Guard (also known as The Merryman and His Maid) holds a special place amongst Gilbert & Sullivan’s Savoy Operas, being unique in its mixture of comedy and pathos. The show takes place in the Tower of London where Colonel Fairfax has been sentenced to death within the hour, having been wrongly accused of sorcery by his scheming cousin who stands to inherit his estate if Fairfax dies unmarried. Fairfax hatches a plan to thwart his cousin’s plot by getting secretly married. The obliging bride is Elsie Maynard, a strolling singer, who agrees to the ceremony on the promise that she will become a wealthy widow upon Fairfax's imminent demise, leaving her free to marry her lover, the jester Jack Point. However, following the secret ceremony, Fairfax miraculously escapes his imprisonment and chaos ensues!
The Yeomen of the Guard is considered to contain some of Sullivan’s finest music while its plot, although not in Gilbert’s normal topsy-turvy style, still has its fair share of delightful humour despite the more serious storyline.