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Reviewed by Peter Green
3MBS. Aired on Saturday March 18
Following on from Melbourne Opera’s great success in staging Wagner’s Tannhauser across the road at the splendid Regent (later this year the venue for the much anticipated Lohengrin)
They have done it again with a very, very funny but un-mucked-about production of HMS Pinafore bubbling with fun, pace and beauty.
The production is cast with a captivating Josephine from Claire Lyon with a peculiar but interesting northern accented Ralph Rackshaw from Paul Beincourt (I thought he might even be channelling the voice of Bubble in Absolutely Fabulous).
He was all you could have wanted from a brave and cheeky British sailor. Andrea Creighton as the part-Gypsy Buttercup (Bu’errcup), put me in mind of a less fatal Azuccuia from Il Travatore and was the perfect female complement to Roger Howell’s Dead-Eye Dick who only needed an acting parrot to complete the picture.
The evening’s non pariel was the Right Honourable Sir Joseph Porter KCB, First Lord of the Admiralty, from David Gould.
In nine years of reviewing I would rate his performance for command of timing, his comic inflection and projection of of character as one of the very best. A brilliant performance.
The staging on Greg Carroll’s set- one that whilst not disturbing the G&S devotees (and believe me listeners, they can be very sticky about departure from what they might consider appropriate) but Greg’s set did the job and left room for thought.
The staging was spot on. Direction and choreography from Robert Ray was a complete pleasure from start to finish.
The lighting subtle and therefore terrific. All the supports were tremendous and especially the chorus who sang and danced with verve.
The orchestra, directed by Greg Hocking, were precise, accurate and knitted to the action (and even a part of the of it!) Great fun.