City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

EIF 2015: HMS Pinafore, Usher Hall, Review


By David Charles - Posted on 24 August 2015

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Show details
Venue: 
The Usher Hall
Company: 
Scottish Opera
Running time: 
95mins
Production: 
HMS Pinafore - W.S. Gilbert & Arthur Sullivan
Performers: 
Richard Egarr (conductor), Tim Brooke-Taylor (narrator), John Mark Ainsley (The Rt Hon. Sir Joseph Porter), Neal Davies (Dick Deadeye), Andrew Foster-Williams (Captain Corcoran), Barnaby Rea (Bob Becket), Gavan Ring (Bill Bobstay), Toby Spence (Ralph Rackstraw), Hilary Summers (Little Buttercup), Elizabeth Watts (Josephine), Kitty Whately (Hebe) - together with the Chorus and Orchestra of Scottish Opera

The Usher Hall was full for this ingenious presentation of a much-loved and legendary operetta. There was an electric atmosphere beforehand, and the audience was clearly enthralled throughout.

The Programme for Festival-goers was incredibly and thoughtfully detailed, containing a fascinating history that led-up to this famous Gilbert & Sullivan work, and also a comprehensive overview of the tortuous journey that led to HMS Pinafore first being aired. We were also - helpfully - given a full text of the script, which was also displayed on digital super-title, allowing us to concentrate more fully on the show itself.

The most impressive point about the performance was how the principal players succeeded in stamping their own unique and individual slant on what would have been a familiar production to many. This was balanced by interspersions from the Narrator - Tim Brooke-Taylor - who did wonderfully well in guiding us through the story, while giving us contemporary humour as well (an addition clearly appreciated by the audience); this added extra colour to the concert, though he was sometimes difficult to hear.

Much about this particular interpretation of the operetta was highly interesting, innovative and imaginative. Before the concluding scene in the final Act, we were told that, "After 140 years, Pinafore continues to sail on in to the future" - and this production may indeed be part of this endeavour and dream.

Performance on Sunday 23rd August: 5.05pm

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