HMS Pinafore ready to set sail and cast an­chor in The Re­gent


The Gil­bert and Sullivan comedic mu­si­cal mas­ter­piece HMS Pinafore is pre­par­ing to dock in Palmer­ston North.

Pro­duced by Ben McDon­ald who has staged clas­sics in­clud­ing The Pi­rates of Pen­zance, Buddy and South Pa­cific in the past year, HMS Pinafore is di­rected by Geral­dine Bro­phy and will fea­ture a fine cast of en­ter­tain­ers, in­clud­ing re­spected theatre veteran Ge­orge Henare as Sir Joseph Porter and He­len Med­lyn (as But­ter­cup).

A satir­i­cal tale of for­bid­den love and shock­ing rev­e­la­tions of class and iden­tity, HMS Pinafore is one of the most en­dur­ingly pop­u­lar of Gil­bert and Sullivan’s great comic cre­ations, with songs in­clud­ing Lit­tle But­ter­cup and He is an English­man.

Set aboard the ship HMS Pinafore, the cap­tain’s daugh­ter, Josephine, is in love with a low­er­class sailor, Ralph Rack­straw, de­spite her fa­ther want­ing her to marry Sir Joseph Porter, the First Lord of the Ad­mi­ralty.

She abides by her fa­ther’s wishes at first, but Sir Joseph’s ad­vo­cacy of the equal­ity of hu­mankind en­cour­ages Ralph and Josephine to over­turn con­ven­tional so­cial or­der. They de­clare their love for each other and even­tu­ally plan to elope.

The cap­tain dis­cov­ers this plan, but, as in many of the Gil­bert and Sullivan op­eras, a sur­prise dis­clo­sure changes things dra­mat­i­cally near the end of the story.

Draw­ing on sev­eral of his ear­lier ‘‘Bab Bal­lad’’ po­ems, Gil­bert im­bued this plot with mirth and silli­ness. The show’s hu­mour fo­cuses on love be­tween mem­bers of dif­fer­ent so­cial classes and lam­poons the Bri­tish class sys­tem in general.

HMSPi­nafore also pokes good­na­tured fun at pa­tri­o­tism, party pol­i­tics, the Royal Navy, and the rise of un­qual­i­fied peo­ple to po­si­tions of au­thor­ity.

The ti­tle of the piece com­i­cally ap­plies the name of a gar­ment for girls and women, a pinafore, to the fear­some symbol of a naval war­ship.

HMS Pinafore is staged at the Re­gent on Broad­way on Fri­day, April 22, from 7-9.30pm.

Tick­ets from $79.90, book at Ticket-Di­rect.

Ge­orge Henare plays Sir Joseph Porter, First Lord of the Ad­mi­ralty.

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