THE popular and ever-topical comic opera Iolanthe by Gilbert and Sullivan, comes to Plymouth this month.

The internationally-award-winning Plymouth Gilbert and Sullivan Fellowship (PGS) will present a new and exciting production of Iolanthe, set in the early 1960s, at the Devonport Playhouse from Tuesday, May 17 to Saturday, May 21.

The production will be faithful to the original music and text but acclaimed director Alan Spencer will add a swinging 60s style, commenting that ‘this will be a non-traditional concept…set in fairy land with sparkle: think Hairspray meets Westminster!’

In the leading roles are Helen Haviland, last seen as Carmen, playing the Queen of the Fairies; Colin Damp, Andy Reid and Sam Wilson make their debuts in principal roles for PGS as the Lord Chancellor, Earl Tolloller and Strephon; soprano Bianca Phillips returns as Phyllis; familiar faces Gareth Davies and Tavistock resident Peter Clement have been cast as the Earl of Mountararat and Private Willis, and Lindy Stephens taking the title role of Iolanthe.

Also featuring in key supporting roles are newcomer Emma Mills as Celia, Danielle Barter returns as Leila, with Claire Paddison making her debut in a principal role as Fleta. A number of Tavistock residents also appear in the chorus.

The production will be designed once again by the innovative Andy Martin, authentically costumed, with a cascade of 60s dance styles and camp!

Iolanthe is one of Sullivan’s greatest scores - ranging from the pomp of the Peers Chorus to beautiful melodies and sparkling wit – performed by a 13-piece professional orchestra and full chorus, conducted by Jane Warwick.