THE idea that women being trapped into lifelong, unwanted marriages is funny wears a bit thin, as did the uninspired number I Have A Song To sing, O’.

Overall, though, Martin Lay’s tireless performance as jester Jack Point (a tricky sell) is admirable – reminiscent of the Make ‘Em Laugh routine from Singin’ In The Rain. Tom Davey-Rogerson as the grotesque jailer Shadbolt is also highly watchable and rewarded with genuine laughs for his delivery.

Dame Carruthers’ presence is imposing, although the part is a little low. Sergeant Meryll (Mark Simmonds) is magnetic and more vocally comfortable, as is Elsie (Michelle Kelly).

Kayleigh Oliver is outstanding as Phoebe. Reassuringly skilled and irrepressibly vivacious, she risks overshadowing the romantic lead (Stuart Roberts), who does not always match her charisma. Aside from a slight tendency to overdo expressive shaping, however, Roberts is clearly a strong tenor vocalist with a pleasant voice – such as is required for the musical demands of most male lead roles.

This is presumably symptomatic of the old problem of balancing high and low voices in amateur groups. That the ambitious five-part Yeomen’s chorus is even possible is testament to the group’s commitment; strong leads from Cameron O’Byrne as Second Yeoman help carry it off.

Enthusiasm and love for the genre smoothes over practical imbalances. The brilliance of individual performers is amply matched in spirit by the great contributions of the company as a whole.

The Yeomen Of The Guard, Joseph Rowntree Theatre, York, tonight at 7.30pm; tomorrow, 2.30pm and 7.30pm. Tickets: £12.50, concessions £10, under 16s free, at or on 01904 501935.

Review by Claire McGinn