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HMS Pinafore & Trial by Jury

Date

17th November 2014

Society

Haworth-West Lane Baptist Amateur Operatic Society

Venue

Haworth West Lane Baptist Centre

Type of Production

Musical

Director

Michael Lofthouse

Musical Director

Pam Dimbleby

Report

Author: Judith Smith

~~HMS Pinafore
This was by no means a traditional production, the date being brought right up to the present day and rather than being ‘on board’ the scene was set in a quadrangle of the Naval Dockyard.
After a somewhat shaky overture, the singing, from the well tuned male chorus, got the show off to a good start and this was enhanced by a fine set of Principals who kept the orchestra up to speed and therefore the show sailing along nicely.  The lovely soprano voice of Amy Ellison (Josephine) was well matched by the easy lyrical tenor voice of Robert Driver (Ralph Rackstraw), John Ramsdin (Captain Corcoran) made a very imposing Captain whose rich baritone voice resounded around the hall.  All the other principals were excellent and I have never heard the trio ‘A British Tar’ sung better, even by Professionals. Congratulations.
Somehow any translation to modern times rather loses some of the wit and cleverness of Gilbert’s words, however, there were some good touches in the production, for example Josephine handing her father the bills for her new clothes shopping. Dick Deadeye spent the entire opera confined to a wheelchair, although with nothing wrong with his eyesight other than a pair of spectacles, his nickname seemed rather innocuous, and Josephine needed the help of the entire crew with her large amount of luggage for the elopement!   The costumes were good as was the scenery which easily converted into the Courtroom for:-
Trial by Jury
This was performed as the postscript to the main show rather than its usual position as curtain raiser.  I think that, because of this and the fact that HMS Pinafore had been so enjoyable, this performance rather wilted.  The show lacked a lot of movement, particularly the interactive humour among the chorus, also between the chorus and principals. Regrettably the soprano ladies completely missed one entrance musically.  There were fine comedic performances from Bill Bairstow (The Usher) – I loved his wig and his checking it was still on straight in the mirror!!  and Roly Robertshaw (The Learned Judge). 
I am sure that, as the week progresses, the first night slips will be completely ironed out and an even more enjoyable evening will be had by all.  Many Congratulations on your 50th Anniversary.