Produced by Gilbert & Sullivan Opera Sydney (formally known as the Savoy Arts Company), the well-known work is successfully brought to the stage by a strong ensemble within the company, and what is delightful to see, many slightly older performers.
So often, amateur performances only engage younger performers so it was truly delightful to see several more mature performers on stage, clearly 'having a ball' so to speak, and lending an element of truth to the production. The accompaniment of a live orchestra was wonderful, as it truly elevated the quality of the show and sounded magnificent in the theatre.
HMS Pinafore follows the story of Captain Corcoran's daughter Josephine, whom is in love with a low-class sailor, Ralph Rackstraw. She s unfortunately promised in marriage to the Honourable Sir Joseph Porter. As in all good comedic melodramas, there are trials, tribulations and then of course a revelation that finally allows all parties to live 'happily ever after'.
Whilst a comedic piece, the play grapples with several themes, including 'love conquering all' and the British class system. The witty work is able to investigate these satirically, which in turn allows the audience to come along for the ride and just enjoy a jestful romp rather than a deeper look.
As the action continues, the subtle humour of the first act becomes slightly more overt. It was clear to see that the cast grew in confidence as the performance progressed, which elevated their performances. Dean Sinclair as Sir Joseph Porter is to be commended for his comedic timing, and indeed was the star of the show, particularly when he had the boldness to appear in swimming briefs!
In addition to Dean Sinclair, there were several strong performances from the cast that is a credit to their musical and dramatic training. Anne-Louise Finlayson as Little Buttercup showed great spirit and presence on stage, whilst Michael Handy's tenor (Ralph Rackstraw) was a privilege to listen to.
The only area needing improvement is purely technical; some of the clarity and comprehension of lyrics were lost as not all performers, particularly the sopranos did project loud enough to fully reach the audience. However I am sure this is something that will be rectified by the time the 2015 production of The Gondoliers reaches the stage, and did not diminish the quality and strength of the performances onstage.
Gilbert & Sullivan Opera Sydney's "HMS Pinafore" is showing between 26 September and October 4th at the Smith Auditorium Lyric Theatre: Shore School, William Street, North Sydney. Tickets are available through www.trybooking.com