H.M.S.Pinafore with Trial by Jusy

Date 22nd March 2019
Society Crosby G & S Society
Venue Southport Little Theatre
Type of Production Musical
Director Marilyn Taylor
Musical Director Chris Larkin/Brian Smith
Choreographer Emma Williams


Author: Christine Hunter Hughes

A newish twist on the use of the curtain raiser, Trial by Jury, which featured as a postprandial entertainment at the beginning of Act 2 of HMS Pinafore.  I have seen this attempted before and, in my opinion, it has somehow never quite worked – but this did and was actually very good.  My only slight concern being that the audience of two (Capt. Corcoran and Little Buttercup) broke the protocol by Buttercup singing throughout but not the Captain, which just looked odd – although I can fully understand the temptation – who would want to miss the opportunity to sing Trial? Its such a great sing!   

The production was good – the set look excellent and appeared to work reasonably well for the cast – although if the steps could have been slightly shallower it may have made life a little easier for some members of the cast.  There were murmurings of approval around me as the curtains opened on Act 2 – which looked simply splendid and conveyed exactly the right atmosphere for the forthcoming entertainment. 

Costumes looked good – particularly it must be said the lady’s costumes – which were excellent, and the themed colour worked so well, and looked so good – loved the hats!!  One small comment Captain Corcoran’s uniform sported only 3 stripes (a Commander) at the beginning, whereas at the end the costume (for Ralph) had 4 stripes (a Captain). 

The orchestra were very good, most unfortunately on a couple of occasions there did seem to be something of a race between cast and orchestra, but these seemed to be sorted reasonably quickly.  The sound balance was generally quite good, although on occasions the I struggled to hear the voices over the orchestra.  

How often have we all heard people say, “Oh I’m ONLY in the chorus” but the chorus is just SO important – particularly in our beloved G & S and can easily make or break a production. In this production the chorus had every reason to be very proud of themselves, in that, the entire chorus looked and sounded good – and I was very impressed and gratified by the sheer number of them.  They reacted well with some good facial expressions. 

Likewise the principals, there was some good singing and acting from everyone.  Some of the facial expressions were simply superb and good characterisations.  On a personal level, I felt quite a lot was played to front, but I felt I wanted them to engage with the other actors a touch more or to soliloquise in a more traditional way – very much my own preference of course.  Must just mention the Midshipman – lovely to see a youngster so clearly not just enjoying G & S, but making a great job of it too! 

Many, many thanks for such an enjoyable evening and congratulations to all concerned – on stage and off for a great show – and, on a more personal note, for not just keeping G & S alive, but actively promoting it by promoting such large and experienced cast.  It was a thoroughly enjoyable evening and my thanks and congratulation go to all concerned, many congratulations and Thank you!