Friday, May 09, 1986

Road Testing The Yeomen

The Yeomen of the Guard – Ingatestone and Witham
May 9  1986

The other week I had the rare pleasure of watching two productions of the same show on successive nights. Both Ingatestone and Witham had chosen Gilbert and Sullivan’s classic Yeomen of the Guard. Difficult not to make comparisons, but like those glossy automobile advertisements, we’ll try to stick to the facts,
Ingatestone had the better acceleration – Overture to Beginners in 5m 16s, but Witham clocked the faster journey time, even including the traditional encore for the Cock and Bull duet, and with more leg-room too !
Ingatestone’s road-holding was questionable at times, with prompts, hesitations and false starts, but their documentation was impeccable, with a beautiful programme designed by Haydn Davies, their Sergeant Merryl.
Visibility was good in both, though Ingatestone’s lights had a tendency to dip unexpectedly. I liked the distant view of the Globe, though.
Witham’s open-top design was striking, featuring a Pierrot/Headsman mascot.
Finish and trim excellent in either model, though Witham’s spinning wheel worked, and all their Yeomen wore beards.
Witham’s long pedigree [they first had this show on the road sixty years ago] told in a touch more polish and style, plus a higher octane all-round performance.
Ingatestone won on Jack Points, though – their Merryman had the pathos Gilbert intended.
Apologies to both companies for this unorthodox review – space is at at premium. And I wonder how many other people road-tested both versions ?

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