What happens when a global superpower imposes its social mores and political practices on a smaller, less civilized nation? To find out, you could pick up The New York Times--or you could come see Utopia, Limited, Gilbert & Sullivan's razor-sharp take on this evergreen story of empire and conquest. The difference is that King Paramount, of the South Seas island of Utopia, actually invites the English invasion. His Cambridge-educated daughter, Princess Zara, returns to her homeland with six representatives of England's finest municipal, legal and financial institutions in tow. These "flowers of progress" convince the King to improve on the English template by decreeing that, in addition to the kingdom itself, every individual must become a Limited Company. As the Utopians struggle to adapt to English laws, customs and hats, the King's wisemen plot to overthrow the invaders and reinstate their corrupt behind-the-throne schemes. When the English reforms prove too successful, Zara prevents full-scale revolt when she recalls the missing ingredient for England's superiority: two-party government. Introduce that, she assures her people, and their little island nation will prosper no more or less than its northern counterpart.
Arguably the most relevant operetta in the canon, UTOPIA, LIMITED has as much--if not more--to say to audiences of 2012 as it did when it premiered in 1893. Don't miss the Blue Hill Troupe's newly revised and repointed production of this worthy, but little known work!
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