Express G&S at Wilton’s Music Hall
It’s all aboard the G&S Express for some murder mystery musical madness. This terribly silly yet terribly clever show plays homage to every single Gilbert and Sullivan opera in just 75 minutes, set in what has to be one of London’s most beautiful musical venues: Wilton’s Music Hall.
Express G&S, written and directed by John Savournin, is the story of a murder taking place on a train journey. A renowned moustached detective is on board who takes on the case. Yes, apparently this production is not content with simply referencing all of Gilbert and Sullivan but wants to spoof Agatha Christie too. Although it is made clear that this particular detective is French, not Belgian.
A heinous crime has been committed, leaving the doily trolley lady in tears. With the help of the train conductor and an inspector who boards later, the detective must interrogate a host of weird and wonderful characters (played by just three cast members) and ultimately solve the case. All the while, the characters burst into recognisable Gilbert and Sullivan melodies with funny new lyrics by David Eaton that go with this murderous new tale.
Performed with an over-the-top silliness that fits the show just right, every syllable and every movement is an opportunity the cast seizes to try to make the audience laugh. The writing is humorous enough – but it’s Savournin’s direction and the actors’ performances that are the most chock full of funny.
Express G&S is a rapid-fire barrage of cheeky nods and winks to Gilbert and Sullivan operas, plotlines and characters. Mega fans will be chortling throughout and will appreciate the cleverness of Savournin and Eaton to embed so many references throughout the script and lyrics. But even for those totally unfamiliar with the Victorian musical duo, there are still plenty of laughs all throughout Express G&S.
Images: Bill Knight
Express G&S is at Wilton’s Music Hall from 15th until 18th August 2023. For further information or to book visit the theatre’s website here.