Director: Matthew Bissett
Producer: Roger Nelson
Ruddigore is the eighth full-length operetta by Gilbert and Sullivan, first produced in 1887. Looking for a follow-up to the immensely successful production of 'The Mikado', Gilbert settled on a topsy-turvy take on Victorian domestic melodrama, a style of popular theatre that featured broadly-drawn iconic characters such as The Young Maiden and The Evil Baronet interacting in common village settings. Since that time, however, the strong emotions and morally certain universe of the form have been well-parodied on stage and particularly in early silent films, and those parodies have become a part of the modern understanding of the style. Directors of Ruddigore, then, are left trying to sort the actual melodrama from Gilbert's parody of it, and audiences are no longer in tune with the metatextual conversation between the two styles. Our tactic for replacing that particular stream of comedy has been to shovel as many jokes as humanly possible into the text. More jokes! More jokes! And so if you seek an historical representation of melodrama, seek elsewhere, but if you are content to have your humerous tickled, well... watch on!