HMS Pinafore

Date 1st April 2022
Society Hornby Occasionals
Venue Hornby Institute
Type of Production G&S
Director David Towers
Musical Director Richard Bromley
Choreographer David Towers
Producer David Towers


Author: Martin Craig

Hornby Occasionals offering for this year was a production of Gilbert and Sullivan's, HMS Pinafore. The story of a Captain’s daughter, Josephine, falling in love with a sailor of a lower class than herself, although her father has intentions for her to marry the First Lord of the Admiralty, Sir Joseph Porter. As is usually the case with Gilbert and Sullivan, there are high jinx and japery abound, but it all turns out alright in the end (apologies for the spoiler alert) .

Vanessa Edwards quickly established herself as an exuberant, flirty Mrs Cripps, covering every inch of the stage and delighting the audience with her interpretation of  “I'm called Little Buttercup”

The role of Josephine was played well by Sue Richardson, with her perfect poise and diction, Sue commanded the stage whenever she was on it. It’s easy to make roles like this a little drab and dreary, but with Sue’s experience, this was not the case.

The part of Hebe was brightly played by Laura Bradley, as was the role of Connie played by Rachel Mercer. Connie’s character is secretly in love with Sir Joseph Porter, and was introduced for this production, with an aria added from The Sorcerer for Connie. Whilst sung beautifully, I’m not sure whether it added anything to the piece, but I will leave it more for G and S aficionados to have their say on that.

In the role of Ralph Rackstraw, Chris Hardman gave a strong performance throughout with confidence growing scene by scene.

John Sutherland took on the role of Captain Corcoran, great stage presence and timing to boot.

Performance of the night was, for me, Tony Baker as Sir Joseph Porter. Tony knew his role well, and how to get the most out of it with both the audience, and the other cast members - all the while with a cheeky knowing nod and wink to the absurdity of his character.

All other characters in the production played their roles well.

Chorus, as ever sounded good under Richard Bromley. Movement-wise everything was simple and effective, though on the odd occasion, when the sailors formed a “v” from Upstage centre out to the Pros Arch, stage right’s most downstage sailor seemed to want to stay mid-stage, which didn’t really help the effect.

Shout out to the  member of the ladies chorus who expertly guided her partner through their numbers and was vocally en pointe throughout.  

David Towers as Producer/Director and Choreographer must have been pleased with what the company had created. It's good to see that after the two years of uncertainty, the society are now getting back to what they do well.

Thank you, Hornby, for your invitation and hospitality.