Waiheke Island Choral Society

P O Box 333, Oneroa, Waiheke Island 1840, New Zealand


Trial By Jury — The Director’s Cut (November 2003)


Trial by Jury: the Director’s Cut

How do you make the 40 minute operetta “Trial by Jury” stretch to provide a full evening’s entertainment? This is the problem confronting the committee of the local Choral Society. The Lady Secretary offers a solution in the “Unwritten Act 1” of Trial by Jury.

The original Trial by Jury is very short and so a new Act 1 has been devised, in the manner that G and S themselves might have used. The music is drawn from a number of Gilbert and Sullivan operettas, and the story evolves around a group of eligible young ladies apparently attending a finishing school on Waiheke. They are out for a picnic with their protective Schoolmistress when their festivity is first interrupted by the weather and then by the arrival of a boatload of bachelors from the city. The story then follows a whirlwind romance, the signing of a marriage contract, an estrangement, reconciliation, and eventual abandonment at the altar. The dream is ended, so the forsaken Angelina sues the wealthy Edwin for breach of promise.

The second act of the Director’s Cut is nearly the original Trial by Jury, which, in tracing the fortunes of the participants in the breach of promise case, takes a somewhat satirical look at the judicial system.



Committee / Jury

Lady TreasurerJanis McCartain Bearded manBernard Rhodes
Lady SecretaryDee Austring PedantAlex Duncan
ChairmanRobin Kirkham Refreshment LadyPat Atkin


Angelina/plaintiffMargaret Karetai Edwin / defendantMike Karetai
BridesmaidsBarbara Cuff, CounselPeter Armstrong
Fiona McBride JudgePhilip Symonds
SchoolmistressCarol Shortis UsherDenny Reid


Ladies’ Chorus Men’s Chorus
Eileen BoghurstJill Tetley Alan BoghurstDenny Reid
Kit NelsonMarion Knight Hans SteingassJohn Pilcher
Mary BattenMelita van Wordragen Mark JamesPeter Armstrong
Philip SymondsRosemary Burns



PianoDulcie McMillan BassoonBrenda Vale
FluteMiriam Coucher TrumpetKen Sharp
ClarinetReese Helmondollar CelloLesley Smith
Alto sax / clarinetRussell Croucher BassWendy Croucher


For Act 2 the original G & S Orchestral Parts for The D’Oyly Carte Edition on hire from PIT PARTS, sole agent in Australasia for The D’Oyly Carte Opera Company.



LightingGeorge Blanchard, CostumesBrenda Vale,
Steve Tetley Jeanne Mellamphy, Fiona McBride,
Stage ManagerJenny Knight Janis McCartain
DresserShona Smith SetPeter Armstrong, Philip Symonds,
Make upLyn Kemeys Brenda Vale, and a team of helpers
WigsBrenda Vale, Jeanne Mellamphy Front of houseAnn Jocelyn
and a team.


The First Act was created by Brenda Vale using items from a number of Gilbert and Sullivan operettas, and her own original dialogue. In the Second Act there are small changes to the words of the original operetta.


Copies of the libretto may be purchased in the theatre.


The Actors

Margaret Karetai (Angelina) grew up in Antarctica and returns each year to the All-Antarctic Cultural Festival, where she teaches a three-day course on the penguin mating dance. This year her class won the coveted Golden Icicle for their skit entitled “Take a Waddle on the Wild Side: Fish Heads Can Be Sexy Too”.

Mike Karetai (Edwin) spent this past northern summer at the Royal and Ancient Gong Show Institute in Llareggub, Wales, where his rich tenor voice very nearly won him a spot in the Puccini Tournament finals. He lost out only because he thought “Nessun Dorma” was a sport utility vehicle.

Carol Shortis (Schoolmistress) was shortlisted by the Novosibirsk Drama Circle for the 2002 Beria Prize in Theatrical Excellence, in recognition of her stellar performance as Antonia’s corpse in Dead Souls. Prior to that, she played Millie in Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, leading to rumours that she had a bunch of loud, shouting sisters.

Fiona McBride (Zena) took first prize for her recitation of “Three Blind Mice” in the talent hunt at the 1967 World Corn Husking Championships in Uvalde, Texas, and since then has never looked back. Last year she played the battery-operated stamping and seizing device in the Timaru hit I Think We’re All Bozos on This Bus.

Barbara Cuff (Lucy) first came to prominence as the choreographer of Winston Peters’ Dance Around the Winebox at the Rarotongan Snowboard and Toboggan Convention in 2001. This success inspired a Korean computer game manufacturer to hire Barb as worldwide marketing director for their line of multiuser virtual dodge-ball games.

Philip Symonds (Judge) is president of the Thespian Club of the Porirua Prison Alumni Association. His previous credits include George Leroy Tyrebiter in Don’t Crush That Dwarf, Hand Me the Pliers, and the dental floss tycoon Braithwaite Q. McGillicuddy III in Frank Zappa’s vineyard epic, Moving to Montana Soon.

Peter Armstrong (Counsel) specialises in classical Greek and Roman theatre. He was the emperor Caligula in Peter Jackson’s remake of Some Like It Hot, and had been scheduled to play Nero in Arraw’s The Fiddler’s Song for last month’s grand re-opening of the Rocky Bay Store, but arrived late.

Denny Reid (Usher) earned a Légume d’Honneur from the Waiheke French Club for his stirring narration of “Ce n’est que le p’tit bout d’la queue du chat” at the 1999 International Onetangi Whine and Cheek Festival. The festival was such a stunning success that no one has dared to repeat it.

Pat Atkin, Dee Austring, Alex Duncan, Robin Kirkham, Jan McCartain, and Bernard Rhodes (Committee in Act I; Jury in Act II) come to us as part of the social reinsertion programme of the New Zealand Asylum for the Terminally Uncool. Earlier this year they represented their institution at the Australasian Moustache Stroking Competition in Melbourne, and came away with an honourable mention.

The Directors

Brenda Vale (Director and co-author) won international praise (my nephew in Alabama thought it was cool) for the Waihekeisation of last year’s way-off-Broadway production of Gilbert & Sullivan’s Patience, or Changing Grooms. Next year she hopes to update The Pirates of Penzance by staging a sea battle between Fullers and Subritzky.

Richard Melville (Musical Director), following his 1993 conviction for cheating on his blood test, was sentenced to ten years’ hard labour running the Waiheke Choral Society. Tonight’s performance marks the completion of his sentence, so if you see someone dashing into the night, waving his arms in the air and cackling like a madman, that’s why.

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