Directed by Geraldine Brophy, H.M.S. Pinafore will feature a fine cast of singers, and star respected theatre veteran George Henare as Sir Joseph Porter, Helen Medlyn (as Buttercup), Tizane McevOY (Josephine), Tainui Kuru (Ralph Rackstraw) and Paul Barrett (Captain Corcoran).
H.M.S. Pinafore’s extraordinary popularity in Britain, America and elsewhere was followed by the similar success of a series of Gilbert and Sullivan works, including The Pirates of Penzance and The Mikado. Their works, later known as the Savoy operas, dominated the musical stage on both sides of the Atlantic for more than a decade and continue to be performed today. The structure and style of these shows, particularly Pinafore, were much copied and contributed significantly to the development of modern musical theatre.
A satirical tale of forbidden love and shocking revelations of class and identity, H.M.S. Pinafore is one of the most enduringly popular of Gilbert and Sullivan’s great comic creations, with songs including ‘Little Buttercup’ and ‘He is an Englishman’.
Set aboard the ship H.M.S. Pinafore, the captain’s daughter, Josephine, is in love with a lower-class sailor, Ralph Rackstraw, despite her father wanting her to marry Sir Joseph Porter, the First Lord of the Admiralty. She abides by her father’s wishes at first, but Sir Joseph’s advocacy of the equality of humankind encourages Ralph and Josephine to overturn conventional social order. They declare their love for each other and eventually plan to elope. The captain discovers this plan, but, as in many of the Gilbert and Sullivan operas, a surprise disclosure changes things dramatically near the end of the story.
Drawing on several of his earlier “Bab Ballad” poems, Gilbert imbued this plot with mirth and silliness. The show’s humour focuses on the love between members of different social classes and lampoons the British class system in general. Pinafore also pokes good-natured fun at patriotism, party politics, the Royal Navy, and the rise of unqualified people to positions of authority. The title of the piece comically applies the name of a garment for girls and women, a pinafore, to the fearsome symbol of a naval warship.
Blenheim – April 8 – ASB Theatre
Nelson – April 9 – Theatre Royal
Wellington – April 10 – Opera House
Whangarei -April 12 – Forum North
Kerikeri – April 13 – The Turner Centre
Auckland – April 14 – The Bruce Mason Centre
Rotorua – April 15 – Sir Howard Morrison Performing Arts Centre
Gisborne – April 16 – War Memorial Hall
Napier – April 17 – Municipal Theatre
Tauranga – April 18 – Baycourt Theatre
Hamilton – April 19 – Founders Theatre
New Plymouth – April 21 – TSB Showplace
Palmerston North -April 22 – Regent on Broadway
Kapiti – April 23 – Southwards Theatre
Lower Hutt -April 24 – Lower Hutt Little Theatre
Ashburton -April 26 – Events Centre
Oamaru – April 27 – Opera House
Invercargill – April 28 – Civic Theatre
Dunedin – April 29 – Regent Theatre
Timaru – April 30 – Theatre Royal
Christchurch – May 1st – Isaac Theatre Royal