Gingerbread men and Mad Margaret on their way

Lytham Hall
Lytham Hall
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What’s the difference between Mad Margaret, a former military hospital, seven gingerbread men and Lytham Community Choir?

The answer is that all will be coming to Lytham Hall next Saturday as Gilbert and Sullivan’s comic opera Ruddigore, takes to the open air stage.

The touring theatre group Illyria, is sending a cast of six to present artistic director Oliver Gray’s version of Gilbert and Sullivan’s spoof ghost story. They will be accompanied by musical director Robert Hazle on keyboards.

The performance is thought to be the first ever outdoor production of the operetta and is on the Lancashire coast for its opening weekend of a demanding schedule of 31 shows in 36 days.

Edward Simpson, who has appeared in all Illyria’s previous Gilbert and Sullivan’s successes at Lytham Hall, said: “I think they will be surprised by the way Illyria tackle Ruddigore, very differently to the traditional D’Oyly Carte method.

“Gilbert’s words are always witty and skillful and the score in Ruddigore shows off Sullivan’s tunefulness to great effect.”

As an extra treat for the audience, the 150-strong Lytham Community Choir, under the baton of musical director Graham Warrington, will perform a varied selection of songs before the Illyria show.

Julian Wilde, organiser of the Lytham Hall open air theatre season, said: “I think it’s going to be an amusing production with some top class singing in front of a receptive audience. Illyria have the happy knack of making Gilbert and Sullivan appealing and accessible.

“I will be providing the now traditional gingerbread men, and strawberries, when the cast arrive and that will set them up for a top performance!”

Gates will open at 4pm for picnics, with Lytham Community Choir performing at 5pm and Ruddigore starting at 6pm and ending at
 8.30pm.