Director - Suzanne Hall
Musical Director - Marcus Reeves
Choreography - Louise Hodson
By Gilbert and Sullivan
The Rt Hon Sir Joseph Porter KCB - Adrian Hickford
Captain Corcoran - Peter Barber
Ralph Rackstraw - Dan Hickson
Dick Deadeye - Mike Palette
First Officer Bobstay - Graham Light
Second Officer Becket - Hamish McDonald
Josephine - Katie Hickson
Hebe - Claire Smith
Buttercup - Penny Bullough
Crewmembers: David Anderson, Jacqui Beckingham, Deborah Cleary, Colin Crimp, Anne Croudass, Louise Hodson, Bob Jones, Alan Matheson, Simon Meanwell-Ralph, Michael Watson
Ladies: Alison Bradley, Stephanie Crockford, Jill Fitzpatrick, Sally Male, Vanessa Matthews, Anne McDonald, Nicola Moore, Heather Reid, Gill Russell, Roz Summers, Juliet Surridge, Mary Twomey, Lucy Whiteman
The Good Starship P-n-4 (affectionately known as Pinafore) was launched with real verve at the Theatre Royal. Winchester Operatic Society’s wonderful twist on Gilbert and Sullivan’s first hit ‘HMS Pinafore', was ably navigated by director Suzanne Hall.
The action starts as soon as the first chords of the overture strike up. The attention seeking Dick Deadeye (a 19th Century midshipman), played with lecherous vigour by Mike Palette is revived from a cryogenic state. Peter Barber played Captain Corcoran with great presence as he guided his ship through deep space and with less success tried to guide his daughter Josephine (Katie Hickson) towards an advantageous marriage to The Rt Hon Sir Joseph Porter KCB – First Lord of the Starfleet. His lordship (Adrian Hickford) brilliantly portrayed the incompetence and extravagance of the ruling classes as he travelled around with his huge entourage of female followers. The troupe of sisters, cousins and their very saucy clones added a real splash of colour to the proceedings in their on-trend neon bright costumes.
Hidden love was abounding. Space trader Little Buttercup (a rather sexy Penny Bullough) flashed her yellow locks at Captain Corcoran. His wilful daughter Josephine bemoaned ‘the depths to which I plummet…’ as she declares her love for the young and handsome ordinary engineer Ralph Rackstraw (Dan Hickson). Hebe (Claire Smith) Sir Joseph’s PA meanwhile hankers after her boss.
Nichola Paterson and her team of fellow wordsmiths did a fantastic job in updating the libretto. They cleverly introduced a space-age feel without ever losing sight of the original wit and class satire of Gilbert’s original.
The singing was excellent especially the duets between Josephine and Ralph; their voices beautifully complimenting each other. Buttercup’s introductory song ‘I’m called Little Buttercup…’ was delightful. The lead singers were well supported by the chorus that belted out classic G&S choruses with gusto. Louise Hodson(choreographer) had no easy task ensuring that a large cast moved about a small space with ease. In the early scenes the chorus was a bit ragged but they soon settled into the steps. The small orchestra played with the zest you would expect in a G&S production. However they did not quite match up to the quality of the singing.
Costumes and make-up were spot on, giving a futuristic feel without being totally over the top - excepting Sir Joseph! The set was excellent making good use of large plasma screens. I particularly admired the way the displays worked with the music.
WOS have produced a show which provided a fresh take for hardened G&S fans but also introduced newcomers to the delights of this perennial favourite.
HMS PINAFORE Winchester Operatic Society Theatre Royal, Winchester 02nd May 2012 All aboard the Starship Pinafore for this lively, updated production of an old G&S favourite. Captained by Suzanne Hall (Director), with an out-of-this-world re-write by Nichola Paterson, extra-terrestrial lighting and effects by Rebecca Gregory and a celestial orchestra. In addition, all were kitted out in cosmic costumes and the static set worked well.
Principal performances were strong and the original characters were adapted to fit the futuristic setting, with flirtatious retro space-trader Buttercup (Penny Bullough) who sold herself to the commanding Captain Corcoran (Peter Barber). Jaded Josephine (Katie Hickson) paired well with under-dog Ralph Rackstraw (Dan Hickson), with a lovely duet. The thwarted Sir Joseph (Adrian Hickford), played lothario to a quartet of clones (not forgetting the cousins and sisters)…and the jealous, tri-corned Deadeye (Mike Palette) upended the proceedings. However the crew needed sharper drilling in the first act.
Winchester Operatic Society really soared to the heights of the universe with their vibrant adaptation.