In a time when beheading was the preferred form of corporal punishment, for upper class prisoners at least, war hero Fairfax, a student of alchemy, is to be executed on a false charge of “dealings with the devil”, put forward by a villainous relative who stands to inherit his estate. Fairfax’s friend Sergeant Meryll and his daughter, Phoebe, who is in love with Fairfax, concoct a plan to smuggle him out disguised as the Sergeant’s son, a newly appointed Yeoman. Meanwhile, Fairfax manages to marry the first woman to come his way, the performer Elsie, who will inherit his estate and therefore thwart the scoundrel’s plan. Add to the mix Elsie’s performing partner, Jack Point, who is in love with her, an incompetent “Head Jailer and Assistant Tormentor”, and a crowd of bloodthirsty townsfolk ready for a good old-fashioned execution, we are ensured a plot full of love triangles, twists and turns, intrigue, lies, and alternative facts.
This dark comedy is the closest thing to grand opera in the Gilbert & Sullivan repertoire. Combining poignancy and tragedy with humor to an extent not seen in any other Gilbert libretto, and boasting some of Sullivan’s finest work with its soaring and complex musical score, Yeomen is considered the best of the canon by many fans.
Regular Admission: $44–$59
Teacher (K–12): $20*
Individual level and above: Enjoy 20% off select seats for performances of The Yeomen of the Guard and The Gondoliers presented at the YBCA Theater.
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Lamplighters Music Theatre was founded in 1952 to produce the comic operas of librettist W.S. Gilbert and composer Arthur Sullivan, and is now recognized as one of the world’s pre-eminent Gilbert & Sullivan companies. The Lamplighters’ repertoire includes all the surviving works of these creative geniuses, as well as a select group of comic operas and classic musicals by other composers that exemplify their artistic vision. Critically acclaimed artistic successes for the Lamplighters include honors for Best Production and Best Director at the International Gilbert & Sullivan Festival in Buxton, England and local awards in nearly every performance, direction, and design category, including Outstanding Production of a Musical at the 2015 Theatre Bay Area Awards for H.M.S. Pinafore. The hallmarks of a Lamplighters production are lavish costumes and sets, live orchestra, excellent comic acting, and gorgeous unamplified singing that showcases the beauty and purity of the human voice.
Photo: Kersti Malvre