Doyle's contemporary version, which introduces a Chicago mafia family into the proceedings, started life at the Watermill Theatre in Berkshire. It also ran as part of the Covent Garden Festival in May 2001. The music has been given a makeover too, with jazzy elements added to the original score, and the cast accompanying themselves on assorted instruments. Bizet's Carmen also received a hefty rewriting from the same director in 2000, and Doyle's career record has included Artistic Director stints at the Everyman Theatres in Liverpool and Cheltenham.
The Gondoliers first opened at London's Savoy Theatre on 7 December 1889. The original story was designed as a satire on societal snobbery, with Gilbert adding what he termed his "topsy-turvy" notions to the plot. It ran for 554 consecutive performances and was honoured by a Command Performance before Queen Victoria, at Windsor Castle, in 1891.
- by Gareth Thompson