Of all of Sasha Regan’s all-male Gilbert and Sullivan productions, Iolanthe is the one which I remember most fondly so the news that it was the choice for this year’s revival for a UK tour left me tripping hither and thither in excitement.
Sasha Regan’s all-male Iolanthe is as camp as a flamingo in fishnets. And it works. Leaving the matinée even the most senior of Richmond’s citizens could be seen doing little skips and humming.
The adaption is set in a private school camping trip which I must admit, I did not realise until I read it in the programme. I feel the production was supposed to be contextualised within a certain setting, however, I felt it was staged rather randomly in a wood far away from any towns or villages.
The production is set in the grounds of a 1950s-ish school camping trip, a canny move which neatly sidesteps some of the Orientalism issues and refocuses G+S’s satire on the English political establishment.
Sasha Regan sets her Mikado in the tents around the camp fire of an English public school camping trip in the 1950s. Here, the bullied boy of the class falls asleep and dreams that his classmates and teachers have trotted off to Titipu, with the gentlemen of Japan.