The Curse Revisited.
Mad Margaret’s Minstrels are a new company, created to perform two new Gilbert and Sullivan shows, the second of which is The Curse Revisited. Margaret Amey, who has written the shows has been performing Gilbert and Sullivan since the age of 7 and written books and shows extensively as an experienced special needs teacher.
The first show was Harrogate or Bust and Mad Margaret’s Minstrel’s took this to The International Gilbert and Sullivan Festival, an opportunity that proved one of the best experiences most of us had ever had on stage made even more memorable by a standing ovation and wonderful reviews.
The company was keen to perform another show together in Bexhill on Sea and we have been invited, on the strength of the reception of our previous production, to perform again at The 25th International Gilbert and Sullivan Festival in Harrogate. As enthusiastic as we are, changes in her fiscal situation means that Margaret cannot accommodate the level of financial outlay that was possible last time. At the same time other members of the group find themselves less able to support the cost of a new company, a new show and a weekend tour to Yorkshire with all that that entails. This is why we are seeking the financial support of other enthusiasts and kind, like-minded people.
Harrogate or Bust and The Curse Revisited are billed as Gilbert and Sullivan meets Mamma Mia (but with better singing).
· Mad Margaret’s Minstrels is a company, of enthusiastic Gilbert and Sullivan singers and musicians with a fine, experienced support team.
· The Curse Revisited is a completely new show written for Mad Margaret’s Minstrels (by Mad Margaret) based on the works of the great Gilbert and Sullivan.
· We aim to promote G&S to a new and young audience and to that end we are featuring some young performers as well as established and experienced, often older performers, who have skills and knowledge to share but are no longer obvious for the soubrette and romantic leads.
· For the enjoyment of the chorus as well as the audience; The Curse Revisited includes 28 songs with 5 finales. There’s even a little audience participation!
· As a G&S enthusiast Margaret has ensured the words to the songs are very rarely changed; the plot fits the words. Indeed there are whole tranches of libretto that a sharp-eared enthusiast would recognise from different operas.
· The singers get the chance to sing songs that are sometimes written for other voices, for example, we all, ladies and gentlemen, enjoy the rapture of singing the Peers Chorus, though on this occasion all are now ghosts.
· For the young audience there two singing puppets. Encouraging young people to the theatre is a specific focus of this show and from experience Margaret knows that puppets will entertain during the occasional passage that young people find difficult or ‘soppy’.
· Not only are we singing in Bexhill BUT following a standing ovation and great feedback at the festival in 2016 we have been invited back to perform our new show, unseen to The 25th International Gilbert and Sullivan Festival in Harrogate in 2018.
A little more about the shows and why they were written.
The Curse Revisited is, in fact, the sequel to Mad Margaret’s first Gilbert and Sullivan operetta, Harrogate or Bust, the starting point of which was a visit to The International Gilbert and Sullivan Festival. The two plots revolve around Lord Simon and his village company of Gilbert and Sullivan enthusiasts. Between them the plots are complicated and Gilbertian including a rank of aristocratic characters, ghosts, fairies, peers, a Health and Safety Inspector, a property developer, several lovers, a shapely Sergeant of Police, and a grumpy old man.
Have you ever, like me, sat down to plan which Gilbert and Sullivan operetta you are going to do next and realised that, as much as you love them all none will fulfil the society’s needs? For as much as The Mikado and Pirates of Penzance will probably always guarantee an audience, you long to offer the others, Gondoliers, Ruddigore, Yeomen, Princess Ida, Iolanthe, etc. They will still speak to a modern audience; if only you could tempt the modern audience in to listen.
You realise you need a way to entice the audience back as well as introduce new bright, enthusiastic performers to the genre. If we don’t, we will loose a wonderful inspiring, funny British musical tradition.
I had that realisation. Given the opportunity to perform ANY G&S I wanted, I recognised the problem.
So, what did I do?
I completely lost my marbles and along with them much of my free time over the past two and a quarter years. I announced (at a friend’s Christmas party) that I was going to write a G&S show comprising the best (well most of the best) songs and some aspects of the sillier plots. To affirm my folly the show Harrogate or Bust arrived on the stage in the summer of 2015. The following summer the show appeared again in Bexhill-on-Sea with an invitation to The International Gilbert and Sullivan Festival. An experience that we all enjoyed beyond measure which was made even more memorable by a standing ovation.
We hope you feel able to support us and become part of our new adventure. We look forward to seeing you at our new show in Bexhill or indeed Harrogate.