The British policeman is, as everyone knows, wonderful and promotion from the ranks is obviously rapid, as in barely two years John Ayldon was promoted from an ordinary, beat-pounding, Victorian peeler not merely to Pirate King but to the Emperor of Japan, no less!
His wide, schoolboy grin offstage made it difficult for the average theatre-goer to recognise the fatherly Sergeant Meryll, the aristocratic Sir Marmaduke Pointdextre, let alone the blood-thirsty Mikado or villainous Pirate King portrayed by this young man.
Born in London, he was taken to San Francisco by his parents in 1954, where he went to school and first became interested in the theatre, appearing in many school productions and professional engagements before returning to England in 1958.
His first introduction to Gilbert and Sullivan was at the age of 17 when the local society, in Eltham, required an extra man for one of the policemen in "The Pirates of Penzance". He remained with this group until he was spotted and asked if he would like to audition for D'Oyly Carte. He joined them as a chorister in 1967, was rapidly made a principal understudy, and when Donald Adams left the Company in 1969 was promoted to the very important bass-baritone roles.
G & S Recordings
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