Illyria-ously happy at bumper Hall play turnout

The Mikado performed at Lytham Hall
The Mikado performed at Lytham Hall

Lytham Hall leads the country when it comes to outdoor theatre.

That’s the view of Edward Simpson, company manager of the Illyria company, which drew a record attendance to its open air production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Mikado at the Hall.

Illyria came to Lytham on a sun-soaked evening for the 14th of the 51 shows on the company’s summer tour and attracted a record attendance of 610, a figure which Simpson, who played Koko The Lord High Executioner, feels is unlikely to be beaten.

“The setting and the weather were just perfect and the acoustics are so good that even with such a large audience, we did not have to strain to be heard,” he said.

“We attracted substantial crowds on our opening night in Kent and at Chepstow Castle, but the Lytham Hall numbers were a sight to behold.

The cast enjoyed it enormously and Lytham Hall is right up at the top of the tree when it comes to my favourite venues.”

Andy Pemberton from Pemberton’s Dairies, one of 11 Patrons from the Fylde coast business community, also including the Express, was delighted with the style of the performance.

“Anyone who thought that Gilbert and Sullivan was outdated should have seen Illyria,” he said.

“Everything from the costumes to the set with an enormous Japanese arch was spectacular and the singing was superb. I heard lots of complimentary remarks at the end and Illyria certainly deserved them.

“It was a wonderful experience for everyone.”

Organiser Julian Wilde was delighted with the attendance and the box office receipts for the evening which was attended by the Mayor of the Fylde Coun Linda Nulty and the Mayor’s Consort, her husband Richard.

Now looking forward to the fourth and final show of open air season, Babe The Sheep Pig, on the afternoon of Sunday, August 25, Julian said: “The Volunteers and Friends of Lytham Hall did a superb job with the parking and refreshments and helped to create a very special atmosphere.

“It will be a different audience profile for Illyria’s family show in the afternoon, but I think we are in for a very big audience again and a very big treat.

“I will be able to make a record donation to the Lytham Hall appeal fund at the end of the season.”