Friday, October 21, 2022

H.M.S.PINAFORE - Queanbeyan Players


David Cannell (Sir Joseph Porter) and ensemble

Direction and Set Design by Jude Colquhoun – Musical Direction by Matt Greenwood

Choreographed by Belinda Hassall – Costume Design by Janetta McRae

Lighting Design by Jacob Aquilina – Sound Design by Nick Cossart.

The Q – Queanbeyan Performing Arts Centre – 14th to 23rd October, 2022.

Performance on 19th October reviewed by Bill Stephens.

Veronica Thwaites Brown (Buttercup) and ensemble. 

Ever since it was first presented in 1878, Gilbert and Sullivan’s comic opera “H.M.S. Pinafore” has been delighting audiences with its catchy melodies packaged in a delightfully silly story about a Sea Lord, Sir Joseph Porter, who’s intent on marrying Josephine, the daughter of the Captain Corcoran, the master of the H.M.S. Pinafore, despite her lowly rank.

Josephine however is in love with Ralph, one of the sailors on the HMS Pinafore, despite his even lower rank, but feels duty-bound to respect her father’s wishes and marry Sir Joseph. How this predicament is sorted out is wonderfully implausible and doesn’t really matter because the whole thing is played out with such infectious enthusiasm by the whole cast that it is impossible not to just sit back and enjoy. 

Jude Colquhoun has achieved exactly the right tone for her production, which respects the traditions of Gilbert and Sullivan presentation, with its attractive setting, colourful costumes and rigid lines for her large chorus. However she has avoided mustiness by inserting entertaining interpolations for her actors, while some inventive moves by choreographer Belinda Hassall effectively break up those rigid chorus lines while still retaining the traditional effect.

Katrina Wiseman as Josephine

Colquhoun has been fortunate to be able to cast excellent singers in the major roles. Katrina Wiseman as Josephine and Veronica Thwaites Brown as Buttercup are both outstanding singers and both embellish their roles with fine comedic performances.

Rounding out his trifecta of Gilbert & Sullivan patter roles, David Cannell’s outlandish performance as Sir Joseph Porter is worth the price of admission alone. An accomplished performer, Cannell’s excellent diction, mastery of the G & S technique, including writing witty alternate lyrics for his songs, and his command of the stage, stamps him as an exemplary interpreter of these roles and his performance is a joy to behold.

Veronica Thwaites Brown (Buttercup) - Adam Best (Captain Corcoran)

Adam Best as the bumptious Captain Corcoran and Andrew Finegan as the delightfully fey object of Josephine’s affections, Ralph, round out a fine principal cast. At this performance Elliot Cleaves gave an energetic performance as Dick Deadeye, standing in for Paul Sweeney, while Dale Rheynolds as Hebe, Wally Allington as the Bosun and Chris Bennie as Tom all participated enthusiastically in the fun.

Particular pleasures of this production was the excellent singing by the large ensemble, and the original orchestral D’Oyly Carte arrangements for the fine orchestra, conducted by Matt Greenwood, which after a painfully out-of-tune first few bars of the overture, quickly settled into providing excellent accompaniment.

Whether or not you’re a fan of Gilbert & Sullivan operetta’s this delightful production of one of their most popular comic operas by Queanbeyan Players is thoroughly recommended as an entertaining night of live theatre.


                                                       Images by Michael Moore