Turn off the lights and hide under your beds, we’re taking a ghostly turn to the town off Rederring! Centuries ago, the first Baronet of Ruddigore, Sir Rupert Murgatroyd, condemned many women to death on suspicion of being witches. One woman, whilst being burned at the stake, cursed Sir Rupert’s bloodline so that those who bore the title of Baronet of Ruddigore must commit a crime every day or die in agony. Fast forward to the present day where the professional bridesmaids of Rederring are lamenting over the lack of weddings as the unmarried men of the town are all infatuated with Rose Maybud! Rose has encountered a man that she might marry, Robin Oakapple, however according to ‘the book of etiquette’ she cannot speak to him unless he addresses her first. Little does Rose know that Robin is in fact Sir Ruthven Murgatroyd who faked his death ten years prior so as to escape the curse, leaving in his stead his younger brother, Sir Despard Murgatroyd, leaving him unable to marry his fiancée, the now Mad Margaret. Robin’s foster brother, Richard Dauntless, comes back to town and instead of helping Robin confess his feelings for Rose, proposes to Rose himself! Robin points out the obvious flaws of marrying Richard and thus Rose chooses Robin instead, leading a scorned Richard to inform Sir Despard of his brother’s whereabouts and revealing Robins identity to Rose. Sir Despard is free to marry Margeret but Sir Ruthven and Rose are now separated! Can gentle Sir Ruthven lead the life of crime that the curse dictates? Will Rose really marry Richard now that there’s no one else? And what part do ghosts play in all of this?
Following the success of ‘The Mikado’ and coming before ‘The Yeomen of the Guard’, 1887’s ‘Ruddigore’ is the tenth of fourteen collaborations between Gilbert and Sullivan. It received a mixed response from critics at its premiere but enjoyed a relatively successful run after some changes were made to the script and music, including the spelling of its name which used to be ‘Ruddygore’.
Our society has performed ‘Ruddigore’ four times since 1976. To see the full page for the year you’re interested in, click on the relevant image below. To view the image galleries, head over to our Main Show page.
Click on an image and then click again on the caption to be taken to the page for that production.