HMS Pinafore | G&S Society of South AustraliaThere is something indestructible about G & S – even today there is relevance in the pillorying of social class distinctions, which is the nub of Pinafore. And as continuingly relevant its message, so continuingly appealing and indestructible is the Sullivan music, and the Gilbertian silliness of the libretto.

This makes a solid platform for almost any production, and this one benefits from it as well. From the opening bars of the overture, the orchestra impressed immediately as proficient and solid under the firm direction of Alan McKie. The wind section was particularly fine and accurate. The opening choreography nicely executed by the “gallant crew”, redolent of Morris dancing, was a lot of fun. But it promised more than the rest of the production gave. There were certainly moments of  delight, as one would expect, (such as Captain Corcoran’s “Oh fff-fie!”)  but overall, a lot of the potential laughs were not forthcoming.

There are some lovely voices in this company. Desiree Frahn, as Josephine, the “high born” lass that loved a “lowly” sailor, sang and acted beautifully, displaying a voice with clarity and accuracy at both ends of her considerable range. Michael Denholm as the aforementioned sailor has a sweet, light and clear tenor, and carried off the rather bland role with some conviction. Lucinda Crispe did a fine job as Hebe,  towering over the rest of the sisters and the cousins and the aunts, who were suitably twee and giggly.

The ensemble work was also very good, both by the principals in their chamber groups, and by the whole chorus in the big production numbers. The fact that the Musical Director has a solid choral background showed through and bore much fruit in this area. The petite Elizabeth MacGregor was definitely a sweet and little Buttercup – by no means the fat contralto who traditionally fills and overflows the role, and this was perhaps the most obvious variation in this otherwise very traditional and somewhat unimaginative but overall enjoyable production by Timothy Ide.

The well designed and constructed set, and the fine costumes were equally traditional, and complemented the singing and dancing and occasional over acting, while the spirits of Sir William and Sir Arthur hovered over the theatre, giving the pleasingly large audience no surprises, but a thoroughly pleasant night out.

G&S Society of South Australia presents
HMS Pinafore
W.S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan

Venue: Scott Theatre
Dates: 21 - 25 October
Bookings: 8447 7239 or Bass on 131 246

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