Ruddigore brings to Minneapolis song, laughter, dance, music, and wit galore! Audiences that have been waiting since the performance was postponed in 2020 due to Covid – rejoice! Entertainment begins before the show starts, with retro advertisements; the team has even prepared a thoughtful film intro, followed by a clever opening song reminding us of proper (Covid) protocol and (cell phone) etiquette. For those who are not familiar with Ruddigore or Gilbert and Sullivan, the setting and style is 1800s Victorian melodrama; this version amusingly draws from later film (1930s, 40s, 50s) to enhance the hilarity and relevance.
The Professional Bridesmaids in the village of Rederring are in despair, as there has been no wedding in two years. They are waiting for the fair Rose Maybud, the eye of every suitor, to choose her mate, Rose and Robin Oakapple (not really his last name) are love, but both too timid to make the first move. Friends are enlisted to help, antics ensue. Once the lovebirds are united, a witch’s curse over Robins’ family, the Bad Baronets of Murgatroyd, is revealed. More antics ensue. Act I is sunshine and flowers along the coast; Act II is dastardly deeds and villains in a dark castle – well, sort of. The evil is that of a comical sort, as we learn more about the witch’s curse, and how to break it.
Ruddigore is an operetta (lightheated opera) and much of the story is told in song. The singing, as well as the physical feats of dance and comedic drama, are impressive. The show highlights the casts’ love and dedication to its art; the cozy theatre allows the audience to enjoy the performers’ talent in a proximity that lends well to everyone’s enjoyment. It seems the producer has thought of everything: there is a conductor and an orchestra behind the curtain, and the skillful use of each instrument brings the scenes to life. The costumes and make-up are also well done.
Community theatre is alive and well in the Twin Cities, giving audiences of all ages and opportunity to enjoy the arts. Tickets are very affordable at $26 for adults and $16 for children for about 2 and half hours of good, clean, dramatic enjoyment (with a 15 minute intermission). Ruddigore is playing at the Howard Conn Fine Arts Center in the Plymouth Congregational Church in Minneapolis from March 11-April 3, 2022. For more information on the show go to On Stage – The Gilbert & Sullivan Very Light Opera Company (gsvloc.org).
Review by Kavita Battula