2013 Capital Fringe Show Preview: ‘Our Boys’ by Victorian Lyric Opera Company

Fathers, Sons, and a Side of Bacon.

Our Boys was first performed in London at the Vaudeville Theatre on January 16, 1875. It went on to become the first play in the world to run more than 500 performances. It toured extensively in Europe and the United States, and was brought to the Chestnut Street Theatre in Philadelphia to run the entire summer of 1876, as part of the centennial celebration. Our Boys ended up running a record 1,362 performances before finally closing in April of 1879. This record was held until the 1890s, when the play Charley’s Aunt was first produced. Charley’s Aunt has persevered through time, while Our Boys seems to have faded into obscurity.

Our Boys 1

“I first stumbled upon Henry James Byron thanks to his contemporary and fellow writer, William Schwenk Gilbert, better known as the literary half of Gilbert & Sullivan” said Director, Felicity Ann Brown. Byron (whose father was a second cousin of the poet, Lord Byron) was noted by The Times for his “wit and humour,” so it seems only fitting that he served as the first editor of Fun magazine, where he published the works of the then-unknown W.S. Gilbert. He would later collaborate with Gilbert on a pantomime of Robinson Crusoe, and another, The Forty Theives, with F.C. Burnand, the librettist of Sir Arthur Sullivan’s Cox & Box, which the Victorian Lyric Opera Company presented at Capital Fringe in 2008. As an actor, Byron played the role of Cheviot Hill in a revival of Gilbert’s Engaged, which Brown directed for Capital Fringe in 2010.

Looking at the original cast list of Our Boys, one can see the close connections the cast had with the D’Oyly Carte Opera Company and other performers of the day. Thomas Thorne, the original Talbot Champneys, was the older brother of George Thorne, who was known for his comic baritone roles in the Savoy Operas. Kate Bishop, whose career was launched by her portrayal of Miss Violet Melrose, often performed with D’Oyly Carte company members (and Gilbert & Sullivan themselves) in benefit performances of Trial by Jury for other actors in need. Two of these benefits were held for Nellie Farren and Henry Compton, when illness prevented them from continuing their careers on stage. This tradition of community in the theatre is something that members of The Victorian Lyric Opera Company carry on today, as the company promotes the continued performance of operatic and theatrical works from the Victorian era.

Featuring: Rameen Chaharbaghi, Sally Cusenza, Erin Gallalee, Eric Henry, Chuck Howell, Carlton Maryott, Jessica Powers-Heaven, Wendy A.F.G. Stengel, Timothy Aaron Ziese



 At Mountain – at Mount Vernon United Methodist Church –
900 Massachusetts Avenue NW, in Washington, DC. 
Metro Accessible: Mt Vernon Sq 7th Street-Convention Center or Gallery Place-Chinatown

Saturday, July 13 at 2:45 pm
Wednesday, July 17 at 8:30 pm
Sunday, July 21 at 6:30 pm
Thursday, July 25 at 6:45 pm
Sunday, July 28 at 6:15 pm

Got to VLOC’s website for more information.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/VictorianLyricOperaCompany

Twitter: @theVLOC   #ourboys 

About The Victorian Lyric Opera Company

The Victorian Lyric Opera Company (VLOC) was founded in 1978 to perform musical works of the Victorian era, particularly those by Gilbert & Sullivan. The company has also branched out into other European operettas and even grand opera. The mission of the company is to provide high quality performances of light operatic works, providing educational and performance opportunities to our community. VLOC has also expanded into straight-plays, such as W.S. Gilbert’s non-musical works Victorian Lyric Opera Company and Foggerty’s Fairy, which were presented at Capital Fringe in 2010 & 2011. In 2011, The Victorian Lyric Opera Company merged with The Forgotten Opera Company. VLOC is a resident company at the F. Scott Fitzgerald Theatre at the Rockville Civic Center.


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