Topsy Turvy Loves

CD Cover
Original Cast Records 6214

Topsy Turvy Loves is a musical adaptation of W. S. Gilbert's 1877 play Engaged by Robert Sickinger, with songs from the G&S canon replacing most of the dialogue.

The piece was workshopped in Vancouver, Washington, in the mid 2000s, which led to this recording. There was also a 2009 Equity Showcase production in New York City, which I saw.

I don't like the show much at all. It has some enjoyable moments, but it is also deeply frustrating. Some of the songs work, but many of Sickinger's lyrics are force-fitted, and many of the songs are only tenuously related to the dramatic situations. There are also too many of them: 34 in total. That leaves far too little time for Gilbert's best dialogue, and parts of the plot are poorly explained. I suspect that one who didn't already know the story would be totally lost.

Sickinger used "Oh joy! oh joy! from The Sorcerer as the Act II finale. Sullivan's lachrymose setting, while suited to its original context, leaves the show with a limp ending. The CD ends with the Act II finale of The Grand Duke, which in the stage production Sickinger used as curtain-call music. If I were revising the show, I would eliminate one-third to one-half of the musical numbers and preserve more of the dialogue. That would have been a better balance.

Issue History
2006 Original Cast Records CD 6214