Musical - HMS Pinafore
Before Tuesday night I was a Gilbert and Sullivan virgin,
and thought that a local production of one of their performances
was the epitome of provinciality. I was right. But what a
laugh. On the day of the dress rehearsal I went to chat to
the director of the show, Andy Freeman, and its publicity
officer, Dino Bishop, also one of the principal performers.
Dino showed me round the set, and made me a cup of tea, Andy
described his philosophy as a director. He cut his teeth,
he said, at the Lewes Arms Panto, and enjoyed doing modern
versions of musicals, with local references thrown in. He’s
been directing at the LOS for 16 years. He invited me to the
show that night.
At first I wasn’t convinced. There was a Lance-Corporal-Jones
nature to some of the sailors’ dancing, and the plot
took some time to jerk into action. Then, as the show progressed,
I got more and more hooked into its zany joviality. Some of
the acting and singing was so-so, sure, but none of it was
bad. The costumes were blinding, the set was well thought-out.
And some of the performers were brilliant. Bishop’s
camp Sir Joseph Porter was a scream, Neil Horstcraft’s
Captain Corcoran was just right, and Elizabeth Stratford as
Josephine was out of this world. That girl has got a voice
to die for, and enormous stage presence, to boot. By the end,
the fidget factor was zero: quite the opposite, I was clapping
like a madman. I’m no longer a Gilbert and Sullivan
virgin. I thoroughly enjoyed the show. Does that make me provincial?