NEWS: GASP! A New Musical Theatre Group for the Island

A brand new musical theatre group is making its presence known on the Island now that theatres are able to open with a little more confidence. GASP stands for Gilbert and Sullivan Productions, the name indicating the main focus of the group – to celebrate the work of the renowned Victorian librettist and composer and to stage some of their wonderful operettas, which are still just as hilarious and entertaining – and relevant – today as they were a hundred or more years ago.

William (WS) Gilbert had a shrewd understanding of human nature and a wry ability to make points about the social order of the day, such as those promoted way beyond their abilities through nepotism or sheer bluster; the arrogance and snobbery of all classes of society and the incompetence of those of high rank. Perhaps one might conclude that some things never change – but certainly the themes and plot lines of the operettas still give us much to laugh at, and ponder over.

Sir Arthur Sullivan’s wonderful music scores have given us well-known and much parodied songs such as ‘I am the very Model of a Modern Major General’, ‘Little Buttercup’, ‘Three Little Maids From School’ and can be sweet, sentimental ballads one minute and raucous sea shanties the next.  

The first Gilbert and Sullivan show to receive the GASP treatment will be The Pirates of Penzance, to be staged at Bembridge Village Hall in September. Watch this column for more details of dates and tickets later in the year. GASP’s founder, Andrew Wilson Jenner, says: ‘I am delighted by the interest shown in GASP and the amazing cast we have already lined up for our first show’.

In the meantime, to say thank you for hosting heir show, GASP are staging an evening of light classical music on 26th February with all proceeds being donated to the Village Hall. The evening features three incredibly talented musicians. 

Steve Burton is familiar with Bembridge, having been MD for two shows there last year. He has been involved in music most of his life having first picked up the flute as the age of eight and then learning the drums at 12.  

Adrian Moore is an organist, harpsichordist and pianist based in Leamington Spa. As well as teaching organ and piano he plays regularly for choral groups, in cathedrals and churches around the country, and gives solo concerts on organ and harpsichord. 

Rob Forbes began his singing career in Melbourne, Australia and has worked in opera across Europe, teaching and performing. He was headhunted by the Guildford School of Acting, where he wrote the Singing elements of their MA course in the Practice of Voice and Singing. He now teaches privately and occasionally is persuaded to perform, as now for the inaugural concert of Gilbert and Sullivan Productions on the Isle of Wight. 

So please come along to support a local venue, a new local group and of course to enjoy the wonderful talents of musicians who have performed across the world – tickets are available by calling 01983 612820. 

Until then, give GASP a follow on their Facebook page!

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