Image: Peter Marsh

H.M.S. Pinafore review: A romantic and humorous show

H.M.S. Pinafore is a brilliant and entertaining performance given by Opera Warwick which displays a modern-day twist on classical opera. This upbeat and comical show is set on a navy ship and largely revolves around the romance of Josephine, who is the rich daughter of the Captain, and Ralph Rackstraw who is a smart but lowly sailor – and thus, their love is forbidden.

The show follows their lives with extreme hilarity as they try to overcome the struggles of loving someone in a different class and how they believe they can defy the odds with their love for one another. It is romantic, comical and the music is incredible; this Goose Nest performance was well worth watching.

The show is romantic, comical and the music is incredible

Although I was sceptical at first, the production won me over in minutes. Like many others, I find opera magnificent, but only in small quantities. However, with its ridiculous characters and beautifully performed music, this show is anything but dull and instead kept me on the edge of my seat and giggling throughout.

It is clearly a comical take on the Victorian class system and makes a mockery of all characters. For example, Sir Joseph, who is the ruler of the Queen’s navy despite having no naval experience because he blindly does what he is told to do by everyone else. Gilbert and Sullivan’s H.M.S. Pinafore demonstrates that the class system of this time was highly flawed and by using quirky, over-exaggerated characters (which Opera Warwick manages to convey to the audience perfectly) the audience recognises these issues quickly.

With its ridiculous characters and beautifully performed music, this show is anything but dull

In regard to the music, Opera Warwick and the orchestra put on a brilliant display. The orchestra played beautifully throughout, and the overture was a thrill to listen to. Eleanor Sterland (Josephine) and Fionn Robertson (Ralph) give wonderful and powerful performances on stage with their duets being an absolute delight. It is clear that there is a real chemistry on stage between the pair which ensures that every audience member is fully invested in their relationship.

In fact, every song was sung to an incredible level and with clear diction which made the show even easier to follow. The performances from the rest of the cast were also very well done, with the finale of Act 1 being one of my favourite songs in the entire show. The songs are extremely catchy – you will never be able to get the line “sisters and his cousins and his aunts” out of your head – and this simply emphasises what a memorable show Opera Warwick has produced.

Every song was sung to an incredible level and with clear diction

It’s clear that the cast have had a wonderful time putting on the show. Fionn Robertson states that the Warwick Arts Centre is “very accommodating and the shows are always spectacular and always exciting”. The love and devotion the cast has for their work is evident on stage and their performance speaks for itself. Their desire to create a solid performance for the audience is what makes this show, not only well sung, but extremely entertaining and engaging.

Although the choreography is lacking in certain areas of this show, I can promise that the music and acting makes up for it. Overall, H.M.S. Pinafore was a light-hearted, sweet and slightly ridiculous show that manages to make the audience chuckle and remind you that love should conquer all. It definitely deserves recognition as a well done and highly entertaining work that has clearly had a lot of time and thought put into it.

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