H.M.S. Pinafore - October 2011

HMS Pinafore Churchill Theatre Bromley 20th October 2011

What more does one want when one attends the theatre.
Great orchestra
Excellent set
Mood lighting,
Big Chorus
Great leads and
Colourful costumes.

That's what "HMS Pinafore" has at the Churchill theatre this week. From the opening drum roll to the ending, this Pinafore has it all.

Gilbert and Sullivan's plot centres around a naval captain (Ian Belsey) whose daughter Josephine (Stefanie Kemball-Read) is in love with a low-class sailor. Even though she is promised to the upper-class First Lord of the Admiralty Sir Joseph Porter,(Richard Gauntlett) the highlight of this production!!! As with nearly all of the Gilbert and Sullivan operas, a twist changes everything dramatically near to the end of the story.
A cheeky Buttercup (Katy Bingham-Best) was soon selling her wares to the crew of Bill Bobstay (Richard Broadley), Dick Deadeye (Graham Stone) and Josephine's hero Ralph Rackstraw (David Newman). Upper-class Captain Corcoran and his daughter Josephine established themselves quickly, allowing the plot to roll out seamlessly.

Sally Langford as director took her well chosen talented cast to a professional standard in the production, highlighting the now aging comedy.. Minimal dance by Terry John Bates was especially good in 'Never mind the why and wherefore' and 'Kind captain' and the movement with the ageing sailors (well done boys) was more than simple for them in 'We sail the ocean blue'. Orchestra conducted by Mark Fitz-Gerald was just at the right pitch for the performers on stage, of which I found one or two difficult to understand their diction at times.

This excellent set design and costumes by Enid Strutt once again up to her high standard. Lighting Colin Martin was very mood setting especially in day and dusk scenes.

With a cast of near 45 this production will rate high in Kentish Opera's repertoire. There were many highlights in this production but my accolades must go to Richard Gauntlett Ian Belsey and Graham Stone who gave us great comedy performances and in perfect voice.

SUPERB poster and programme design by Graham Copeland (CourtPress) worthy of an entry in the NODA poster/programme competition.

Thank you Kentish Opera for inviting me. I look forward to seeing Die Fledermaus in May.

Gordon Harris


















Royal Hospital Chelsea
22nd October 2011

Dear Ms Langford,

As a third generation G & S addict I'm writing to thank you for one of the most enjoyable evenings I've experienced for years.

Last night's performance of H.M.S. Pinafore was the finest of the several I've witnessed since my old grandmother first took me to one around 1935.

One aspect which is all too unusual on stage and screen these days was the obvious enjoyment experienced by all the cast.

Since I awoke this morning I've been humming the arias to myself, particularly those emanating from the lips of Little Buttercup. Please pass on my grateful thanks to all concerned.

Sincerely yours,

A Chelsea Pensioner