Fraser Valley G&S Society launches Gondoliers

Latest offering is ‘ridiculous and fun,’ says Langley performer

A cast filled with talented singers performing beautiful music.

That is how Langley’s Jackie Block describes the latest offering from the Fraser Valley Gilbert and Sullivan Society.

Next week, Block and the rest of the ensemble will take the stage at the Surrey Arts Centre as Fraser Valley G&S Society enters its 29th season with a production of The Gondoliers.

The popular Savoy opera tells the story of a pair of men who were mixed up as infants by a drunken gondolier. One is the gondolier’s son; the other happens to be a prince — it’s just not clear who’s who. And that creates a whole new set of complications when a young queen shows up to marry the young royal.

In her first outing with the theatre group, Block has taken on the role of Vittoria, which in this case is a melding of two characters — contadinas Vittoria and Fiametta.

Though it’s a small role, Block describes her character as “very sexy. She has a lot of attitude — a very sensual person.

“She knows what she wants and she goes after it.”

Block, who has called Langley home for the past six years, works as a special education assistant, but has always made a place for music in her life.

“Initially, I was a jazz bassist, but I switched to voice” she said.

Her love of acting blossomed while she was in university, she said. But she only acted in her first live theatre production last year when she took on the role of Meg in Chilliwack’s Secondary Characters’  production of Little Women.

After that, she was hooked.

The Langley singer-actress became involved with FVG&SS through word of mouth, she said.

“My friends had a positive experience, so I decided to try out.”

So far, the experience has been just what she’d hoped, Block said.

“There’s always a lot of laughter. The content of the show is so ridiculous, we kind of feed off that.”

As a new member of the society, Block was also pleased to find a wide range of age and experience among the cast.

“They’re really willing to take on new people — there’s not a sense of clique-i-ness,” she said.

The Gondoliers will be on stage from May 11 to 21 at the Surrey Arts Centre Studio Theatre, located at 88 Avenue and King George Boulevard.  Tickets can be purchased in person, by phoning the box office at 604-501-5566, or online at tickets.surrey.ca. For more information check the Fraser Valley G&S Society website at http://www.fvgss.org.

•••

In the upcoming production of  The Gondoliers four of the main characters are married during the show.

In honour of the April 29 Royal Wedding a the Fraser Valley G&S Society invites audience members  to wear a wedding hat to their Wednesday, May 11 and Thursday, May 12,  7:30 p.m. performances.  People wearing a wedding hat will receive an entry for a draw to have a donation made in their name to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridges’s Royal Wedding charity fund.

You can find out more information about this fund at www.royalweddingcharityfund.org.