2014 Die Fledermaus

Johann Strauss II

Karl Haffner and Richard Genée

"Excellent singing at tonight's performance of "Die Fledermaus" Loved the prologue on screen! Lots of exuberance - a delight for the ears and eyes. Well done everyone" - Vicky from Wednesday Evening

"Saw this show last night and thoroughly enjoyed it. Great production, awesome principals and best of all a chorus with a very good sound who got stuck in and were having a whale of a time. Well done to all involved." - Jeremy from Tuesday Evening

"Just so say how wonderfull the show was. Best thing the company has done that I have seen. You have put the Opera into ELOC at last!" - Colin from Thursday Evening


Spring 2014

On New Year’s Eve, Eisenstein is being forced to go to jail for punching a police officer, however decides to evade jail for one night so that he can go to Prince Orlofsky’s lavish party. Eisenstein wants to go with his friend Falke, so he tells his wife, Rosalinde, that he is heading off to jail. Meanwhile, Rosalinde knows that Eisenstein is lying, and follows him, in disguise as a Hungarian countess to the ball. Adele, their maid, also feigns an excuse to be released from work that night so that she can also go to the ball, disguised as a Russian actress named, Olga. After many mistaken identities, Eisenstein attempts to seduce his own wife without knowing. Much frivolity, and many festivities behind them, the great farce ends up with a happy ending for all.


Rosalinde - Callie Swarbrick
Adele - Corinne Hart
Orlofsky - Sarah Denbee
Ida (Adele's Sister) - Kate Winterhalter
Alfred - Bo Wang
Eisenstein - Dominick Felix
Falke (a Notary) - James Schouten
Frank (Prison Governor) - Chris Evans
Blind (a Lawyer) - Paul Featherstone
Frosche (a jailer) - Len Martin
Ivan (Prince's Valet) - Emily Evans and Daniel Crego-Bustelo

Chorus Members
Anthony Black, Paul Chitnis
Emily Evans, Penny Hanham
Chris Haslett, John Hayman-Joyce
Charlie Hoddell, Jill Howlett
Louise Laithwaite, Terry Marsh
Julie Parker, Dil Patel
Linda Sutch, Rick Thompsett
Harry Wilkinson, Sandra Zeffman


Christopher Moon-Little

Dennis Clarke-Hooker

Amy Hamlen


Promotional Video

Party Video


Pranking of Falke Video


Jon Fox

Die Fledermaus set in the present is an interesting and challenging concept for any company to take on. This modern version with altered libretto by director Christopher Moon-Little was certainly different from the traditional one. So, did it work? Well yes, in some respects but there were several things not to like.

The singing, acting and characterisations of all the principals was of a very high order indeed. With three exceptions (Dr Blind, Franck and Grolsch) all were newly trained (or training) professionals.

Eisenstein: Dominick Felix ..... Beautiful tenor voice, great stage presence.
Rosalinde: Callie Swarbrick ..... Soaring Soprano, delightful acting.
Adele: Corinne Hart ..... Soaring soprano, superb acting.
Falke: James Schouten ..... Rich sonorous Baritone, good stage presence.
Alfred: Bo Wang ..... Superb Tenor, highly charismatic actor.
Count Orlofsky: Sarah Denbee ..... Lovely voice, played the difficult cross dressing part with verve and confidence.
Ida: Kate Winterhalter ..... Fine voice, skilled dancer and did well in the role

The "Amateurs" were:-

Frank: Chris Evans ..... Big stage presence and accomplished actor.
Dr Blind: Paul Featherstone ..... Played the bumbling fool with great comic timing and managed the tricky song with skill.
Grolsch: Len Martin ..... A comical drunken jailer landed with a "disobedient" blow-up female doll which he handled with dexterity.

This tuneful operetta opened with a giant computer screen showing a video of the prank Eisenstein played on his drunken and sleeping friend Falke. I thought this idea, though clever, was rather laboured, however it certainly ensured the audience that the production was set in the present time. I noted a couple of topical references during the show. The opening set and scene in Eisenstein's apartment was kept sensibly minimal which focused the attention on the various deceptions going on amongst the actors.

For my money, the highlight of this act was the appearance of Rosalinde's lover, Alfred and his attempt to seduce her. His superman shorts would have made Edwardian ladies faint! He was the most charismatic actor on stage with a stunning voice. Not far behind, however, was Adele - her famous laughter song in Act 2 was spine tingling.

The famous ballroom scene, now a nightclub bar room, was in many ways let down by the modern setting. A simple bar at a party and an eclectic mix of party goers including Ali G lookalike did not do justice to the masked ball traditionally used. I suppose that is the penalty paid for updating the show.

There was some interesting choreography in this act which was rather well set and carried out by the company under choreographer Amy Hamlen. It did however lack elegance when compared to this scene in the original setting. Energy is not a good substitute for grace. Adele's laughing song was beautifully performed and Rosalinde's charade as a Hungarian Countess were for me the highlight of this act, along with the glorious singing generally.

Act 3 set in the prison governor's office was in some ways lacking in the natural comedic business, bordering on farce, that the original plot demands with the various comings and goings as the complicated plot is finally resolved. It was perhaps over simplified. The comedy involving a lengthy scene where Grolsch becomes convincingly drunk eventually became rather laboured. The blow-up doll made me laugh initially, but a lighter touch with comedy is essential. Unfortunately the "reluctant" doll turned the scene into slapstick. Falke's appearance with the company from the party was handled with aplomb and the finale was also worthy of praise.

The orchestra under the sure command of musical director Dennis Hooker underpinned and supported the gorgeous singing in this show most effectively, whilst never drowning the soloists. Lighting designer Simon Banks and operators David Titman and Kevin Ward were to be commended.

Costumes by Kris Benjafield (the programme misspelled her surname) and Caron Ireland were appropriate for the modern setting.

Overall this was an enjoyable show and for a famous operetta such as this, it was prudent to use professional soloists in the main parts. However the modern setting could not quite match the atmosphere and some of the humour of the original by Johann Strauss II.