SS Pinafore November 2008

A tale of love, hypocrisy and mistaken identities sailed into port as Southwick Opera presented an updated version of a Gilbert and Sullivan classic.  It was all aboard the SS Pinafore, adapted by director/conductor Simon Gray and James Clarke from the operetta HMS Pinafore. Set aboard a 1950s passenger liner rather than a battleship, the story lost nothing of its charm or entertainment value when it was performed at Southwick’s Barn Theatre last week.
Martin Clarke starred as Sir Joseph Porter, the First Lord of the Admiralty, who had fallen for Josephine, the charming daughter of the ship’s commander, Captain Corcoran (played by Yvonne Fair and William Revels respectively).
Southwick Opera newcomer Jonathan Nulty shone in the role of Ralph Rackstraw, the “common” sailor who captured Josephine’s true affections.
They were ably supported by Viv Aylward (chief purser Bill Bobstay), Alan Soutter (stoker Dick Deadeye), Alison Barak (Sir Joseph’s “cousin”, Hebe) and Anthea Myall (Little Buttercup).
Add into the mix the fine voices of the Southwick Opera chorus and the musical talents of the orchestra, and SS Pinafore was never destined to sink without trace.
Southwick’s Barn Theatre was packed for the show, featuring toe-tapping tunes, laughs coming thick and fast, and the trademark Gilbert and Sullivan twist at the end, righting all the wrongs and tying up the loose ends.
All in all, Southwick Opera’s latest offering was a steaming success, and provided a happy voyage for the hundreds who set sail with the crew during its run.