“Pinafore” opened on a wonderfully wet Adelaide night. Whilst the welcome rain surely lifted the audience’s spirits the G&S Society’s production was indeed an added bonus.
The splendid vision of HMS Pinafore’s quarter deck complete with rigging, ship’s wheel and a brace of business- like canon was perfect. Barry Hill’s most pleasing symmetrical design skilfully realised by set constructor John Axe and scenic artist Damon Hill effectively begged the presence of all hands on deck!
Orchestration under the direction of Jacqui Maynard was spot on, producing just the right balance of nicely nuanced nautical notes to complement an impressive range of vocal talent.
James Nicholson hits all the right romantic notes as our hero Ralph Rackstraw. His rendition of “A maiden fair to see” with his fellow shipmates, all fine of voice, sets the mood for the piece. Brad Martin captured the correct degree of pompous stuffiness and class awareness as Sir Joseph Porter, and Megan Doherty used her mellifluously true vocal range to perfection as the astute, not to be dictated to, heroine Josephine. David Visentin invests his role as Captain Corcoran with poise, charm and leadership (well, more or less!). He voices his character confidently and clearly. He demonstrates great timing throughout.
The captain, the First Lord and Josephine excel in the trio “ Never mind the why and wherefore”, a delightful blend of three great voices accompanying some simply choreographed and amusing business. The chorus and principals alike use the entire stage to great advantage at all times thanks to astute direction and effective choreography by Celeste Barone.
Eve McMillan, perfectly cast as Little Buttercup, provides the fantastic revelation to bring the piece to an altogether neatly parcelled conclusion with “A many years ago”. Her lovely vocal abilities blend well with an evenly talented cast.
Ian Brown’s bass Bill Bobstay is both pleasing and imposing , and Jemimah Lanyon makes an ideal Cousin Hebe and dowager spokeswoman for a bevy of other cousins, sisters and aunts. Both display a mature stage presence in their supporting roles. David Rapkin portrays Dick Deadeye (that scurvy knave!) with well practised comic ease and Nick Coxhill dovetails in quite snugly as the Carpenter’s Mate.
Direction by Barry Hill produced a seamless and entertaining end product thoroughly enjoyed by a packed house open night.
Finally I pay due homage to Costume Coordinator Helen Snoswell and her team of sewers and dressers. The entire cast looked absolutely splendid on stage.
Have I ever seen a better production of “Pinafore?” Well, hardly ever!
Gilbert & Sullivan Society of SA
The Arts Theatre
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