Mutiny on the Pinafore

Date 21st June 2019
Society Astwood Bank Operatic Society
Venue St. Matthias & St. George Church, Astwood Bank
Type of Production Concert
Director Eleanor Peberdy
Musical Director Simon Peberdy


Author: Bruce Wyatt for Andy Brown

Once again at the pleasing venue of St. Matthias & St. George Church in Astwood Bank, a summer concert was performed, billed as an original nautical operetta based mainly on the works of W.S. Gilbert with Arthur Sullivan. Whilst the connection with HMS Pinafore was clear every opportunity was taken to include a range of songs from many other well-known classics including The Mikado, The Sorcerer, Iolanthe, The Gondoliers, Trial by Jury, The Zoo, Ruddigore, The Yeomen of the Guard and the Pirates of Penzance.

The scene is set throughout on the Quarter –Deck of HMS Pinafore, three months after the events in the opera of the same name, with a rousing opening number “We sail the ocean blue” by a very accomplished chorus. The story line is in the main explained by ‘Dick Deadeye’ (Ian Walton) along with a very strong and clear voice both in his numbers from “The Rose of Persia” and later from “The Grand Duke”.

He is matched by ‘Josephine’ played by Jo Hargreaves with a lovely voice and a great range. She and ‘Ralph’ played by Jeremy Dobbins sang well together in “None shall part us” from Iolanthe and later Jeremy sang with nice light tones in “Oh everyone listen, I pray” from Trial by Jury.

Another good pairing in ‘Beth Becket’ (Abi Cole) and ‘Bill Bobstay’ (Michael Treagust) sang together  “I know a youth” from Ruddigore with sensitivity, and “The Rt. Hon. Sir Joseph Porter KCB” (Mark Tooby) and “Lady Hebe Porter” (Claire Hardie) worked well together, Hebe sustaining  her rather aloof and often snooty characterisation well throughout. (Married for just 3 months was obviously proving difficult!) The quintet “Try we lifelong” from The Gondoliers, with the Porters, Josephine, Ralph and Dick, was excellent.

The need for mutiny comes to the surface with ‘Buttercup’ (Melanie Hart) ‘Beth’ and ‘Bill’ in “Alas! I waiver to and fro!” from The Yeomen of the Guard and the story with a twist further unravels, well played by Buttercup and Edward Corcoran (Steve Skinner). To the surprise of all, Sir Joseph is not all he seems!

Producer Eleanor Peberdy captures the atmosphere well whilst Simon Peberdy works hard as Musical Director and sole pianist throughout the performance.

Thank you for giving me the opportunity of visiting ABOS once again and I wish all well with the next production of ‘Orpheus in the Underworld’ at the Palace Theatre, Redditch next March.