Theatre Review: Princess Ida

The latest slant on the classic tale of Princess Ida, performed by South Australian Light Opera Society (SALOS) and directed by sell-out Adelaide Fringe show Grey’s Maria Davis, is true to the original and well worth the watch.

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Presented by: South Australian Light Opera Society (SALOS)

Reviewed 24th of August 2019

The latest slant on the classic tale of Princess Ida, performed by South Australian Light Opera Society (SALOS) and directed by sell-out Adelaide Fringe show Grey’s Maria Davis, is true to the original and well worth the watch.

For those of you unfamiliar with the story, the comic opera first went to stage in 1884; at that time the season held 246 performances with some considering the score to be Sullivan’s best. The musical ensemble and Helen Loveday, well known for musical direction in many of Adelaide’s finest productions, certainly uphold the reputation with the music of Sullivan executed finely.

The medieval stage show commences at King Hildebrand’s palace where he and his son Prince Hilarion, are waiting for Princess Ida’s father, King Gama. The Prince and Princess, betrothed near birth, haven’t seen each other since; nevertheless Prince Hilarion declares his love for the Princess.

Greg Paterson as King Hildebrand is immaculately dressed and brings an air of authenticity to the role and Damon Hill is absolutely perfect as the grumpy King Gama. Prince Hilarion with his entourage Cyril (Ben Fleming) and Florian (Samuel James) and, the three sons (Robert Maher, Aslan Storm, Andrew Trestrail) of King Gama are also introduced in this Act. The scene ends with Prince Hilarion and his entourage heading off to Castle Adamant – Prince Hilarion determined to win over his betrothed.

The second Act is set at the university and starts with Lady Blanche (Sandra Fameli) delivering the punishments of the day – a student expelled for bringing chess‘men’ to the university, another chastened for drawing a double pram ‘perambulator’. Kiera Turner as Princess Ida soon makes a striking entrance, her powerful voice contrasting farther as the first Act featured only male solos. Stefanie Foy’s return to SALOS as the lively Melissa is refreshing and Danielle Ruggiero-Pryor as Lady Psyche also notable.

The final Act brings all contingents together; the question is, who wins? The short season of this fantastic performance with time honoured Gilbertian humour is well worth the watch. Even though the libretto was originally written one hundred and fifty years ago, the light hearted satire on the topics of feminism and women’s education are just as relevant today.

Reviewed by Rebecca Wu

Venue:  Tower Arts Centre, Springbank Secondary College, 267 Goodwood Road, Pasedena, 5042
Season:  23rd of August to the 1st of September 2019
Duration:  2 hours 45 minutes
Tickets:  $15-$28
Bookings:  contact Pam Tucker 8294 6582

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