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Baronets, Bridesmaids and Ghosts, Oh My!

Posted by Carolyn / February 12, 2011


Gilbert and Sullivan meets Tim Burton in McGill Savoy Society's production of Ruddigore; Or the Witch's Curse, a side-splittingly funny and outrageously over-the-top comedic opera in two acts. With impressive costumes, Nightmare Before Christmas-esque set design and several noteworthy student performances, the Savoy Society presents its audience with Gilbert and Sullivan in all their fanciful glory.

The story follows the Ruddigore baronets, who have been cursed by their ancestors to commit a crime every day or else suffer an unthinkably painful death. As Act One begins we are introduced to Robin Oakapple, a young farmer who has fallen desperately in love with Rose Maybud, the fairest maiden in the village. Though Rose also loves him, both are too timid to confess their feelings. But Robin is concealing a dark secret--he is not who he says he is. His real identity is Sir Ruthven Murgatroyd, baronet of Ruddigore, but he has run away to escape his title and the oppressive curse of his ancestors. Falsely believing Ruthven to be dead, his younger brother Despard has assumed the title himself and taken on the curse. When Robin's true identity is revealed, he is forced to trade his lovely Rose for the ghosts of ancestors past who haunt the Ruddigore castle making sure the Baronet commits his daily crime.


This "supernatural opera" is full of blushing bridesmaids, ghosts that pop out of dusty old portraits, and of course, a quintessentially Gilbert and Sullivan twist of an ending. Nour Malek steals the show as the cackling, nonsense-spouting Mad Margaret, delivering an unfalteringly convincing performance of the archetypal madwoman with crazed eyes and flowers strewn through her frazzled hair. Her performance is well-accompanied by Jackson Smith's spot-on Sir Despard Murgatroyd, who rocks a top hat, black cape, cane and Nietzsche 'stache like it's his job. Their duet and dance number, "I Once Was A Very," is a highlight of the performance.

Be sure to check out the Savoy Society's production of Ruddigore for a wonderfully outlandish evening of music, dancing, awesome moustaches and all-around hilarity. The show plays Thursday February 17th and Friday February 18th at 7:30 p.m, and Saturday February 19th at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. at Moyse Hall. Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the door for students, and $20 regular admission. Visit to purchase in advance.

Photos by The McGill Daily's Victor Tangermann.

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