HMS Pinafore and Trial by Jury

Date 20th October 2018
Society Bournemouth G & S Operatic Society
Venue Poole Lighthouse Theatre
Type of Production G&S
Director Claire Camble-Hutchings
Musical Director Helen Brind


Author: Brian Oliver

Two very good shows which made for a very enjoyable evening

Because the  Lighthouse stage was set for HMS Pinafore, The setting for Trial by Jury was very simple, The court room was created using black tabs and with minimal stage props. I liked the idea of having all the cast with white faces, wearing black and white costumes, with only the judge, the plaintiff and the other woman wearing red. Together with the simple set I thought overall it looked very effective.

The principal characters were all excellent, and their singing was superb. Unfortunately because of poor sound balance the hard working chorus, who were singing their hearts out, were largely inaudible except when it was only the chorus singing.  It was very light hearted, very enjoyable and seemed to be over far too quick. I felt that many of the audience were surprised when the lights came up for the interval.

There was a traditional set for HMS Pinafore that look very impressive and with a bit of poetic licence the wheel of the ship was off centre which gave the set more width, without spoiling the overall effect.

Yet again the principal roles were all excellent, Josephine’s singing was outstanding. I was very impressed with Dick Deadeye, it was nice to see a different interpretation of the character. I wonder how many noticed when he swapped his eye patch from his left eye to the right, he was superb, and I very much enjoyed the tap dancing Cousin Hebe. I was half expecting to see the whole company to follow her lead and break into a tap routine behind her. I also liked Buttercup who was portrayed as a Romany Gypsy.

The orchestra sounded fabulous throughout the evening and although the sound balance was greatly improved for HMS Pinafore, there were still a few gremlins in the system.   

HMS pinafore has been a favourite of mine for many years, in fact I have recently found a cassette tape recording of the show which I acquired in 1973.  I really enjoyed this production, I could have happily sang along and laugh out loud throughout the show. I thought that director had added some wonderful touches and ideas to give it a more up to date feel, which also created more comedy, whilst keeping the G&S traditionalists happy at the same time.