Review: The National Gilbert & Sullivan Opera Company - H.M.S. Pinafore @ New Theatre
Tuesday 20th October 2015
Operetta is a good way to persuade people to attend an evening of opera-like entertainment. It bridges the gap between opera and musical and is usually on the light-hearted side. Gilbert & Sullivan are the titans in this field and have been for over 100 years, delighting audiences worldwide.
H.M.S. Pinafore, or The Lass Who Loved A Sailor (as it is also known) is a fine example of their collaboration. Many young people would raise their hand in admitting it was Sideshow Bob in The Simpsons that introduced this score to them. For me, it's very charming but lacking in any real substance, for a night spent at the theatre.
The story of a captain's daughter falling for a common sailor and thus declining her offer to the Lord of the Admiralty is an interesting look at class and social status. The story is very thinly spread, though it is the English humour that shines through, even if some of the singing voices are not as clear as they should be.
The cast do a bang-up job to bring a prim and proper version of events. The ageing Lord was played by Richard Gauntlett with impeccable comic timing. Elinor Jane Moran did a firm take of Josephine, his daughter. Kevin Greenlaw, played Captain Corcoran with a rigid baritone, was decent in his timing also. Mrs Cripps, or as she says "Little Buttercup", was played by super mezzo Sylvia Clarke and filled with a feminine wit and presence.
Bruce Graham as Dick Deadeye, the villain of sorts, was booming in his voice and had repugnant character traits. After being thrown overboard, he didn't appear very wet when he emerged back onboard for the next scene. The chorus who sing and dance are also just lovely and easily bring a smile to the face. A small ensembles orchestra, conducted by the youthful James Hendry, also added to the merriment in their music-making.
A story of silliness set at sea.
Rating: 3 stars
Note from Weeping Tudor: "Like my namesake, a brand new theatre company is to be born. Weeping Tudor Productions shall stage rare, new and LGBT+ works. You can donate here via Kickstarter for our inaugural piece, Medusa's Trap by Erik Satie. Find out more in my article on theSprout here."
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Image credit: New Theatre website