3rd October 2013
Poynton Civic Hall
Type of Production
Author: Kevin Proctor
‘H.M.S. Pinafore’, Gilbert and Sullivan's 1878 tale of romance and class conflict on the high seas. (All right, it's really Portsmouth.) It was everything you’d expect from a G&S; sweet, light humour, colourful and terribly British …and it never failed to delight. What, never? Well — hardly ever.
Artistic Director Richard Huggett doesn't take risks with his production, it’s directed safely and as a humble salute to this genre – But, I suppose if you want G&S with a conceptual kick, try ‘Hot Mikado’ or the Auzzie ‘Pirates’?? I'm not sure, I like to see a fresh and original approach to any production from the creative Director - Worth a thought?
I've got to be honest, G&S is starting to creep up on me as a bit of a guilty pleasure! I’ve seen three of PG&SS’s shows now and I really do enjoy them as well as reading up on the individual operas afterwards, I always stumble across interesting facts and stories about that particular show – so, which one’s next!?
It cannot be ignored that more than a few of the players are quite a few years above the characters intended age which does deliver the occasional comic moment, but one factor nobody can deny is the vocal ability of this cast as well as the supporting chorus. Andrew Pugh & Sue Sawyer as Ralph & Josephine sung superbly.
The joy of this show, for me, was Jeannette Wood as Little Buttercup - her voice was lovely and she played the character part (keeping the shows secret under wraps till the finale) with aplomb!
Other stand out performances were Sarah Parker who gave a very charismatic and lively Cousin Hebe, Ian Whitfield as the grotesque seaman Dick Deadeye and Mike Nash gave a notable and enjoyable portrayal as Captain Corcoran.
I felt more attention could have been made to the set. The same (as lovely as it was) backdrop throughout the entire show, some would say was a bit mediocre in terms of staging. There was an opportunity to get a bit clever here, particularly as the entire show is set on the ship’s deck – the show only needs one set to remain static throughout the entire performance which, in terms of dressing the space, should be an invitation to go a little overboard (pun intended). Mood lighting (rather than just either on full or off), sound effects / wild tracks would also help to create ambiance!
The Orchestra and musical direction was in the very capable hands of Katharine Brown who kept the show moving along nicely. Congratulations to Katherine who has, as always, worked her cast hard to create a full sound with well-balanced harmonies.
An enjoyable evening, Many thanks!