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? AL

Lizzie Stratford solves a problem like Josephine in HMS Pinafore

The Town Hall
When? Nightly until Saturday 7th, 7.30pm
How Much? £5.50-£8 Concessions £7-£9 Full price.
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