G&S ‘HMS Pi­nafore’ docks

The Tribune (NZ) - - ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT -

Ahoy! Ship ahoy!. HMS Pi­nafore steams into the Re­gent on Broad­way this Fri­day April 22.

Gil­bert & Sul­li­van’s comedic mu­si­cal Savoy op­eras poked the bo­rax at just about every­thing. From lam­poon­ing the class sys­tem and bum­bling bureau­cracy to stuffed shirt pa­tri­o­tism and in­di­vid­ual foibles, their 19th cen­tury mas­ter­pieces are still tilt­ing at and hit­ting the mark.

Mod­ern mu­si­cal theatre owes much to the duo, who in real life could hardly stand one an­other, but to­gether man­aged to make stage magic full of wit, silli­ness and whim­si­cal­ity.

Star­ring Ge­orge Henare as Sir Joseph, Tizane McEvoy as Josephine with Tainui Kuru as Ralph, He­len Med­lyn as But­ter­cup and Paul Barrett as the cap­tain, HMS Pi­nafore is di­rected by Geral­dine Bro­phy. Fea­tur­ing the still well-known num­bers Lit­tle But­ter­cup and He is an Englishman, HMS Pi­nafore was one of the first Gil­bert & Sul­li­van shows to tour New Zealand cour­tesy of the Ric­cardi Opera Com­pany in 1879, only a year af­ter its Lon­don premiere.

For­bid­den and star-crossed love, mat­ters of class and iden­tity drive this en­dur­ingly pop­u­lar op­eretta, also known by its sub-ti­tle The Lass that Loved A Sailor.

Aboard the good ship HMS Pi­nafore (the ship be­ing named af­ter an apron is all part of the ex­tended joke), the cap­tain’s daugh­ter, Josephine, has fallen in love with Ralph Rack­straw, a lower-class sailor. Ah, but her fa­ther, Cap­tain Cor­co­ran de­sires her to marry Sir Joseph Porter, First Lord of the Ad­mi­ralty, no less.

Josephine is pre­pared to put her feel­ings aside and abide by her fa­ther’s wishes at first. But when Sir Joseph starts pro­fess­ing equal­ity for all (ex­cept, of course, no one is equal to him), his words en­cour­age Josephine and Ralph to flout the con­ven­tional no­tions of so­cial or­der.

Declar­ing their love, the pair make plans to elope. How­ever, the sour able-sea­man Dick Dead­eye dobs them in, and it’s the ig­nominy of the brig for for Ralph. Then comes the in­evitable sur­prise dis­clo­sure which causes a com­plete turn­about in for­tune.

HMS Pi­nafore makes Palmer­ston North a port city just for one night. Book­ings for the Re­gent on Broad­way per­for­mance are through Tick­et­Di­rect.


The star-stud­ded cast in the tour­ing pro­duc­tion of Gil­bert and Sul­li­van’s HMS Pi­nafore (from left) Tainui Kuru, Tizane McEvoy, Ge­orge Henare, He­len Med­lyn and Paul Barrett.

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