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See Michael Gray's Arts Blog here

The Gilbert & Sullivan Society of Austin

The Gilbert & Sullivan Society of Austin
www.gilbertsullivan.org

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Pirates of Penzance

See full review at the American Statesman

The Gilbert & Sullivan Society of Austin

Read the review of "Pirates" by the American Statesman's Andrew J. Friedenthal.

 

Posted on 17/06/2017

 

Cambridge University Gilbert and Sullivan Society - CUGSS

Cambridge University Gilbert and Sullivan Society - CUGSS
www.gands.org.uk

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HMS Pinafore

see Review by Clare Cavenagh of Cambridge Theatre Review on 10th Feb 2017

See full review at cambridgetheatrereview.com

Confession: I'd never been to a Gilbert and Sullivan before last night. I mentioned this to a friend, and they said 'it's really, really stupid, but you'll like it'. How right they were. The Gilbert and Sullivan society's production of HMS Pinafore is certainly unashamedly silly, but it's also damn good: great music, interesting to look at and full of laughs. Head along to the West Road Concert Hall to catch it before it sails, swaying slightly, out to sea.

Central to the story of HMS Pinafore are Josephine and Buttercup. Josephine (Tiffany Charnley), daughter of the ship's captain, is due to be married to Sir Joseph (Michael Morrison), a small man with a big job as head of the Royal Navy. Unfortunately, she has (rather in spite of herself) fallen in love with a lowly sailor with a lovely tenor (Max Noble). Buttercup (Anna-Luise Wagner) meanwhile has designs on the ship's captain (Luke Thomas) and knows more about both him and the young lovers than she is letting on. Chaos delightfully ensues.

The G & S Society have decided to play this farcical, nautical romp in the most light-hearted and jolly of manners. The characters run around the stage in little sailor suits complete with white hats, or in lovely, floaty white lace shirts tucked into flowing skirts. Choreography sticks close to this, with a little waltzing, plenty of that crossed-arm, as well as some of that stiff-legged sailor-dancing everyone can recognise. Along with the simple yet effective and interesting sets (designed by Theo Heymann) this show is a rose-tinted delight to watch.

The music, which forms the backbone of this production is also wonderful. The orchestra, under the direction of Tristan Selden, do an excellent job of the score, and the singing onstage is wonderful - the cast all incredibly strong. Their expressive performances, peppered with some up to the minute jokes on topics as widespread as Brexit, Girton and S&M, kept the audience giggling right through the show.

HMS Pinafore did suffer from the occasional hiccough. There were a couple of technical issues with lighting, one rather confusing instance at the beginning of the second act, and a couple of lighting effects which seemed slightly out of time with the music. A little more diction from some soloists would have helped to make their thrillingly dense lyrics carry more clearly through the hall, and be more comprehensible. At a couple of moments the cast got slightly out of time with the orchestra, although this was quickly remedied by a few big conducting gestures.

Overall however, these faults were very minor, and HMS Pinafore was a thoroughly enjoyable evening of light-hearted laughs and great music. I'm not entirely sure that I'm a Gilbert and Sullivan convert, but if all the G & S Society's offerings are as much fun as this, you can count me in.

 

Posted on 11/02/2017

 

Cambridge University Gilbert and Sullivan Society - CUGSS

Cambridge University Gilbert and Sullivan Society - CUGSS
www.gands.org.uk

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HMS Pinafore

see Review by John Elworthy of Ely Standard on 11 February 2017

See full review at www.elystandard.co.uk

REVIEW: Cambridge University Gilbert & Sullivan Society offer a stylish performance of HMS Pinafore

There’s a lovely line in their programme notes explaining the plot of HMS Pinafore that reads ‘ it all works out in the end, hip, hip hooray!’
It does and indeed did quite satisfyingly on the opening night of the Cambridge University G&S Society’s production at West Road Concert Hall.

Jam packed with those studying everything from engineering to the classics, chemistry to languages, and from heart biology to behavioural science, you wonder how they find time, but grateful they have, for the subtleties, nuances and pure indulgence of a Gilbertian outlook.

The appetite for such light opera may have waned but the Cambridge audience – of an unsurprising large number of middle aged and older theatre goers who indeed looked capable of ‘whistling all the airs from that infernal nonsense Pinafore’ – were happy to feast on the increasing rarity of a G&S classic.

Musical conductor Tristan Selden was rightly being congratulated by his orchestra members on his robust performance as I passed them during the interval – his was a stylish and at times delightfully frenzied journey that allowed the production to get into gear. G&S is about delivery and pace – the cast responsible for the former, the musical director for the latter. Both got it right.

Tiffany Charnley as Josephine was captivating, charming and ever so slightly coquettish to ensure Max Noble, as her suitor Ralph, was never to going be dissuaded from the challenge of courtship and marriage above his class.

HMS Pinafore was first staged in the late 19th century at a time when class was a dominant force in the British way of life and challenges to it a pre-occupation of satirists into which the G&S tradition was conceived and flourished.

Coincidentally alongside the impish drama of G&S this week class and society at Cambridge was being played out in real life by the university student filmed burning a £20 note defiantly in front of a homeless man on the city streets.

William Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan would not have approved for Pinafore, and their other productions that came before and went after it, used literary devices and parody to challenge, and mock, the status quo.

HMS Pinafore has a shorter run than some years but brevity in performances has not stunted enthusiasm, production values and an outpouring of genuine zest and affection for a much loved and valued tradition.

Class is indeed alive and well – and being teased, tantalised and tormented with nicely.

You have limited opportunity to catch this show – take it if you dare.

 

Posted on 11/02/2017

 

Little Waltham Drama Group

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PIRATES OF THE PANTO
Little Waltham Drama Group at the Memorial Hall - 17.01.17

A winning blend of originality and tradition for this year's Little Waltham village panto.
Festive favourite Richard Butler brought his trademark anarchy to the role of Squire Flinders, heading an excellent comic team which included Ken Little's dim Bobby and Gordon MacSween's lovely Scottish Dame, a wicked glint in his eye, sporting a wonderful wardrobe of fancy frocks.
Good supporting work from a double helping of duos: feeble seamen Poop and Deck [Hugh Godfrey and Julie Cole] and Skull and Bones [Kathy Jiggins and Verity Southwell], sidekicks to Ash Cobden's dashing villain Captain Spongebag Roundpants. Plus cameos from Jenni Money as Harry the Harbour Master, Brian Corrie as Honest [“no tic”] John and Martin Final as Bosun Rollicks [Rowlocks?] with his knobbly cosh.
Love interest from principal boy Zac Sparrow – a swashbuckling, thigh-slapping Tash Wootton – and Rebekah Walker's demure Moll Flinders. Karen Allen's Queen and Marea Irving's Priestess led the denizens of Discomania Island.
This being Little Waltham, there was a generous supply of disco routines from the hard-working chorus, impressively choreographed by Sue Butler and Karen Allen. A lovely undersea scene change, too, with bubbles and giant jellyfish. MD Karen Wray treated us to an eclectic play list: Barbados, Montego Bay, Otis Redding, Nelly Furtado, Michael Buble, Avenue Q, not to mention Prokofiev for the evil pirate.
And of course we had the walkabout with the sweetie baskets, a custard pie, and a nice hairy-bottomed ghost routine.
Liz Jones's backdrops included an impressive perspective for the Slack Jenny's deck; the stage-side murals this year featured Jolly Roger, gull and parrot.

Pirates of the Panto was directed by Jenny Broadway, who last worked with Karen Wray on the 2012 Abba Ali Baba.


See Michael Gray's Arts Blog here

 

Posted on 19/01/2017

 




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