Can you sue someone for breaking off an engagement? In Gilbert and Sullivan’s courtroom farce Trial by Jury, it’s a very serious crime! The fickle and bigoted defendant, Edwin, has fallen in love with another woman and has jilted the plaintiff, the beautiful Angelina. Unfortunately for Edwin, all of the members of the jury (and the judge) have fallen for Angelina themselves. Edwin proposes that in order to solve the conflict, he “marry this lady today and the other tomorrow,” which, naturally, Angelina objects to. Ultimately, the resolution that pleases everyone is for the judge to marry Angelina himself! This delightfully ludicrous one-act was initially written as a companion piece to Offenbach’s comic opera La Périchole, but quickly outran it in popularity and critical praise. It is often performed as a double or triple bill with other comic pieces, but it just as often performed alone. Hailed by theatre scholar Kurt Gänzl as "probably the most successful British one-act operetta of all time,” Trial by Jury is a bite-sized portion of Gilbert and Sullivan’s signature witty lyrics, catchy tunes, and ridiculous plotlines.
A note on dialogue: Unlike most Gilbert and Sullivan shows, there is no spoken dialogue in Trial by Jury. Still, the music is generally sung in a British dialect.