Words by W.S. Gilbert and Music by Arthur Sullivan
Watts Hall,
April 1929
Cast List
Sir Richard Cholmondeley
Colonel Fairfax
Sergeant Meryll
Leonard Meryll
Jack Point
Wilfred Shadbolt
The Headsman
First Yeoman
Second Yeoman
First Citizen
Second Citizen
Elsie Maynard
Phoebe Meryll
Dame Carruthers

Notes on this performance

6. The Yeomen of the Guard 

No double casting for this…

The Society decided against double casting for The Yeomen of the Guard; presumably because when attempting the most musically demanding of the G&S operettas, it is essential to field the ‘A Team’. Mr C J Andrews continued as the MD but Edith Ashdown shared the responsibility of directing with Philip E Graham.

Sterling MacKinlay again gave his critique in The Amateur Stage and, this time, was generally happier with the chorus, ‘The Yeomen of the Guard gave Southampton Above Bar ample opportunity for displaying the rich tone and uncommon feeling for rhythm possessed by the chorus. Though the words were clear for the most part, there were moments of gabble. The gestures had lost that mechanical style, which had been so destructive of atmosphere in the former production. 

Eva Thorne, a Phoebe with charm and sympathetic appeal, was equally good in singing and acting; but Kathleen Long as Elsie, often exceptional on the vocal side (displaying power and tonal variation), was uncertain in intonation and inaccurate in vowels. Marjorie Reader, the Dame Carruthers, must steady her voice and speak with more expression. Victor Bowles gave a very capable performance as Fairfax, and Philip Graham was a dignified Sir Richard. G.W. Mitchell, the Jack Point, at his best in pathos, might have been clearer in diction. On the other hand, Herbert W. Adcock, who was a model in this respect, was too brainy, playing with dry humour instead of displaying the heavy self-satisfaction needed for Shadbolt. G. Kerton took Leonard at short notice and did well; and Sergeant Meryll had the unlined face and youthful complexion of twenty combined with the grey hairs and beard of sixty. Happy man!’

 The Echo preferred to dwell on two newcomers to the Society, ‘Victor Bowles, a delightful tenor who has taken full advantage of his opportunity. He may justly be hailed as a discovery in local amateur circles. Although, it is understood, last night was his first appearance on any stage, he acquitted himself with confidence and success. The role of Colonel Fairfax is well suited to his talents, and his personality, and he received a flattering reception for his singing and acting, particularly the former,’ and ‘George W. Mitchell, who played Jack Point, the pathos of the role was admirably brought out and not overdone, and Mitchell’s interpretation of the part was as skilful as it was sincere.’

The reporter also seemed to be more impressed than Sterling MacKinlay by the Head Jailer, as he wrote, ‘Herbert W. Adcock, one of the original members of the Society, who can always be relied upon to do a part justice, played splendidly the role of the lugubrious Shadbolt.’

The amount now given to charities (in particular towards providing ‘a cot for the South Hants and Southampton Hospital’) had reached ‘approximately £1060’ so it would appear that The Yeomen of the Guard and the play Berkeley Square together made a profit of around £120 - significantly less than in previous years. 

Terry O'Farrell

Photo of Jester

           Herbert Adcock (Wilfred Shadbolt)                      George W Mitchell (Jack Point) with Philip E Graham (Sir Richard Cholmondeley)