Association of Community Theatre

Show Reviews - May  2017


The Three Towns Operatic Society


Director: David Kay

Musical Director: Rod Dakin


A Gilbert and Sullivan double bill, two Savoy Operas for the price of one. The court was a familiar place for Gilbert as he was, for a short time, at the bar. For the Victorians the court room was an all-male arena. This production was moved forward in time allowing the ladies into the hall of justice.

Sullivan’s music for both presentations was played by a fine orchestra. The singing was a high point of each production, the ensemble work especially. The direction for "Trial By Jury" and "H.M.S. Pinafore" had energy and highlighted the playfulness of the Gilbertian characters. The updating of "H.M.S. Pinafore" was refreshing. Both operettas were well dressed, and the  costumes and accessories certainly enhanced the proceedings.


In the breach of promise in marriage case, Edwin, the defendant, was given swagger and charm by Tony Meehan. The plaintiff, Angelina, played by Victoria Goulden, was pleasingly coquettish and Victoria's beautiful soprano voice complemented Sullivan’s music. She was well supported by her bridesmaids.


The legal team, Fran Davis, as council for the plaintiff, and Bruce Deakin, as the Learned Judge, added to the dramatic mix of the piece. Ken Rees fine voice was used to the full as the Usher, keeping the jury and their foreman (Edward Magenty) in check. "Trial By Jury" is a little gem, and this revival proved just that.


We now move to Portsmouth where the crew of Her Majesty’s Ship Pinafore is preparing for a visit by the First Lord of the Admiralty. John Avery (Bill Bobstay), Winston Carmichael (Bob Becket), Ken Rees (Dick Deadeye), and their shipmates underpinned the drama. The sailors' work was interrupted by Mrs Cripps, the Bum-boat woman. Barbara Mayers delivered a nice light comic portrayal as the Ship-to-Ship saleswoman.


Enter the captain wishing his crew good-morning; David Reeves was an imposing Corcoran. As his daughter Josephine, Victoria Goulden, delighted the audience with her singing. The aria “Sorry Her Lot Who Loves Too Well”, sometimes better known as the “pudding basin” song, was well received.


Lost in his own love-lorn thoughts Ralph Rackstaw loves the Captain’s daughter. David Griffiths was the lowly suitor, he display an understanding of Gilbert's matelot.


Sir Joseph’s barge is seen accompanied by his sisters, cousins, and aunts all led by Hebe, characterised mischievously by Eileen Reeves. Sir Joseph Porter, KCB., was portrayed by David Kay who showed his acting ability, and the famous autobiographical song was delivered with style.


This was a rare evening of operatic singing and drama. By measuring the audience’s enjoyment of these operettas,  it is obvious that this genre of theatre is sadly missing from the repertoire of musical societies these days.