Hear the audience response for HMS Pinafore Wednesday night!
Sitting down to watch LUU’s Opera Society’s latest endeavour, I was filled with anticipation. Gilbert and Sullivan’s comic romp HMS Pinafore tells the classic story of impossible love between a low-rank sailor and the ship captain’s daughter, invoking humour and silliness which culminate in a plot twist that allows the romance to blossom. The performance got off to a slow start, with the lights dimming a little too promptly to expose an orchestra that wasn’t quite ready, and a lack of programmes shrouding the audience in mystery as to what was about to ensue. Any initial doubts were, however, quickly eradicated as the curtain finally swept away, the cast took to the stage, and the operatic extravaganza began to unfold before our eyes.
The balance of singing, dancing and acting talent possessed by the cast members really shone through in this particular performance, with the comic nature of Gilbert and Sullivan’s puns, sarcasm and at times absurd wit being captured effortlessly by the nuanced and clearly well-rehearsed interactions between the characters onstage. The atmosphere of frivolity was instigated perfectly by Rachel Ward in her role as “Buttercup”, whose extravagant costume and warmly jovial singing charmed the room and brought us all aboard the ship that made up the set design for the show. Freddie Brook’s performance of the ugly, pessimistic persona of “Deadeye Dick” was another stand-out, with exceptional charisma and expression being poured into the most comically realist characters of the opera. Eleanor Sourbutts shone in her leading role as “Josephine”, with her soaring soprano voice and subtly humorous acting style giving the entire performance an edge. Her rendition of ‘The Hours Creep on Apace’ during Act II was executed with precision and passion, capturing the whole audience in the juxtaposed ridiculousness and heartbreak of her predicament.
The slight tuning issues of the orchestra were the only element that jarred slightly during the show, with several discordant musical moments giving a strained atmosphere to the performance, and throwing the singing slightly at time. These issues, however, paled into insignificance alongside what was a polished show, and the last to be performed in the Riley Smith Hall before its impending closure for refurbishment later this year. Overall, HMS Pinafore was a triumph for Operasoc, and I came away bowled over by the amount of hard work and talent that goes into each of their performances.
Kate Ryrie, LippyMag