If you love The Play That Goes Wrong and British comedy and farces, this is the operetta for you! This classic take on a ‘play within a play’ has hilarious turns and twists that will keep you riveted. A rollicking tale of love, politics, and mistaken identity, sprinkled with Gilbert’s razor-sharp wit and Sullivan’s enchanting melodies.

Without a shot being fired, confusion and hilarity reign as a troupe of actors take political power overthrowing the government of the mean and miserly Grand Duke. Duels with weapons have been outlawed. A statutory duel has been instituted: the two disputants draw cards from a deck.  The person with the higher card wins. The person with the lower card becomes a legal ghost and all his relations (including fiancées), debts, bets, and obligations pass on to the winner.  After 24 hours, the “dead” man returns to life, and all will be well again, or will it?

Changing the setting to post-war Britain, this updated and revised version of the show will delight all ages. This gem of a show is rarely produced, and it has been thirty years since The Savoy Company last staged the show. Director Bill Kiesling has created a masterful comedy that sings under the outstanding direction of Peter Hilliard and the professional orchestra.

1947 – A time of struggle in the United Kingdom. Although Britain prevailed in WW2, the nation continues to recover from the war.  Rationing of all sorts continues, and conditions are grim around the nation, as the country tries to “make do and mend.

Britain looked for spots of happiness.  In July 1947, Buckingham Palace announced the engagement of Princess Elizabeth to Prince Philip, with planned nuptials on November 20 of that year.

For our production, join us as we journey to 1947 when an amateur acting troupe (the Gilbert and Sullivan Players of Conksbury) is preparing a special theatrical event in celebration of the Princess’s engagement. Happily, and coincidentally, one of the members of the group has recently found what is believed to be an unpublished, and as yet unperformed, “final” version of The Grand Duke.

We are witness to the troupe’s opening night performance of The Grand Duke in the recreation hall of St. George the Mediocre, Conksbury’s local church. The story elements and the troupe are introduced to us by the energetic head of the troupe, setting the audience up for the comedy to follow. Plagued by the continued impact of rationing, and by the group’s limited funding, the troupe performs their production of The Grand Duke in a “traditional manner” as best they can, set in the 1860s. Production “mishaps” are fixed throughout the work by the troupe’s production team and, at the end, the troupe and audience joyously celebrate “Happy Couples, Lightly Treading”.

Cast of Characters

Baroness: Alex GIlliam

Julia: Greta Groothuis

Lisa: Nathalie Dalziel

Princess: Maria Leonetti

Gretchen: Jackie Schiener

Olga: Ali Erwin

Bertha: Lauren Jones

Martha: Mira Castigin

Rudolph: Alexander Levine

Ernest: A. J. Kait

Ludwig: Steve Underwood

Notary: Jack Ingram

Prince: Brian Ballard

Viscount Mentone: Matt Butt