The first of this year’s Cabaret in the Day series as excellently directed by Melvyn Morrow was the wonderful ‘Gilbert and Sullivan forever!’ starring Andrew O’Keefe and Glenn Amer.
The best of G&S in an hour and a half was presented by O’Keefe (The Chase, Weekend Sunrise) who is a Mosmanite, and Amer who has been described as ‘the man with the fingers of Liberace and the voice of Mario Lanza ‘.
Together they become a cast of hundreds as we dashed exuberantly through some of Gilbert and Sullivans much loved operettas as well as some rarely heard works too.
O’Keefe was something of a chameleon, from petulant King Gama to the Lord High Executioner, from judge to sad jester, and not forgetting his playing a debonair Frenchman. Amer who also played many and various roles was in great form on the keyboard and sang wonderfully too.
From the dashing , thunderous opening chords of the overture to The Mikado played by Amer at a breathless ,exuberant pace , we knew were in for a terrific time.
The show was interspersed with information and witty anecdotes about the lives of Gilbert and Sullivan, social comment and delved into the history of some of their productions.
We first saw and heard O”Keefe as the suave , sophisticated Judge with flashing eyes in Trial By Jury. Then came the magnificent tongue twisting patter song My Name is John Wellington Wells from The Sorcerer. Amer followed with another very wistful moving piece from the same operetta.
We then jumped aboard HMS Pinafore and O’Keefe was deliciously, pompously aristocratic as Sir Joseph Porter ( When I Was A lad) followed by a rollicking, swaggering Pirate King from Pirates of Penzance that brought the house down and would have garnered many recruits.
Audience participation was encouraged and given for the next song, A Policeman’s Lot Is Not A Happy One (also from Pirates).
Next we turned to Patience and O’Keefe and Amer as Bunthorne and Grosvenor respectively performed the witty duet When I Go Out of Door.
The next three songs were from Iolanthe, When All Night A Chap Remains and When Britain Really Ruled The Waves and as a duo instead of the usual trio Faint Heart Never Won Fair Lady.
O’Keefe became stooped, menacing and cruel as King Gama from Princess Ida If You Give Me Your Attention who ‘can’t think why’ he isn’t liked.
This was contrasted with a heartfelt rendition by O’Keefe of Koko’s Tit – Willow song from The Mikado that was exquisitely moving and a wickedly delightful duet ( Amer as Katisha). This was followed by Sir Roderic’s Ghost Song from Ruddigore.
We then moved to the Tower of London and the Yeoman of the Guard with an extremely poignant and moving performance of I Have A Song To Sing O.
Next stop was Venice with the bright and buoyant We’re called Gondolieri from The Gondoliers, and Amer also performed the lyrical Take A Pair of Sparkling Eyes from the same operetta.
We then heard about some of their lesser known and now rarely performed operettas in particular Utopia Ltd and The Grand Duke and we heard the Grand Duke’s Song Take My Advice When Deep In Debt reminding us that at the casino the bank is bound to win!
Amer played a medley of various famous Sullivan melodies before an encore was enthusiastically demanded and the audience joined in With Cat Like Tread from The Pirates of Penzance with great gusto bringing the concert to a conclusion.
Melvyn Morrow then introduced Rob Palmer and Zach Selmes who will be performing in the other two Cabaret in the Day concerts that will take place later this year, and they each performed a song from their respective shows .
The audience vociferously cheered and thunderously applauded at the end of this glorious afternoon.
Running time 1 hour 45 minutes without interval.
This concert was performed at the Mosman Art Gallery on Sunday October 9.