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The Gondoliers

By Gilbert and Sullivan

Opera della Luna

The Lowry, 21 May 2014

The Gondoliers

A cheerful production of a typically cheery Gilbert and Sullivan confection.

The story of The Gondoliers has whistles and bells, weddings and battles constitutional but not a lot changes really.  The lovers remain united, though perhaps their positions are made more secure.  This Opera della Luna production has picturesque tableau and colourful OTT costumes, and is well worth seeing.

What’s interesting, still, about these works – popular in their day and retaining a following in ours – is the way in which Gilbert’s absurdity never quite edges over into genuine anarchy.  Yes, the songs are silly and satirical (and sometimes sweetly poignant) but there’s an innate conservatism at play always.  Sullivan’s cheery melodies seem to both entice and restrain transgression.  All remains comfy and secure; and that’s about it.

Let’s be frank, G & S are second rate.  You wouldn’t call it art, but nonetheless it’s brilliant entertainment.