Review: Gilbert and Sullivan Players’ “HMS Pinafore”

The Gilbert and Sullivan players performed the musical “HMS Pinafore” on April 1, 2 and 3. The musical, directed by Robert Howard, revolves around Ms. Josephine Corcoran and who she will marry. Howard opened the show with the singing of “God Save the Queen,” a tradition performed before every Gilbert and Sullivan show.

The chorus of male sailors had multiple pitch problems. During group songs some sailors sounded sharper than the majority of the chorus, thus creating a fairly unpleasant sound. Lead female Taylor Hanson, however, had a voice that was reminiscent of those from the Romantic Era in Paris opera houses. Hanson’s voice had a strong vibrato and gracefully lifted to high notes.

Robert Mangan who played the character of Captain Corcoran also had a strong voice that carried great power. Leah Poponick was quite flirtatious as the character of Little Buttercup. She sang multiple solos that exuded confidence despite this performance being her first ever musical. Hanson and Danny Carlineo had strong chemistry on the stage while playing star crossed lovers.

John Wojtechko and William Brown, who played Sir Joseph Porter and Dick Deadeye respectively, carried the show’s comedy. Wojtchko entertained audience members with his amusing strut, which required him to keep his legs bent and cocked out. Brown’s character alluded to “white Michael Jackson,” presidential candidate Donald Trump and the current pop song “Trap Queen.” There were also multiple unsavory puns made about his character’s name.

Casey Ciocco, who also participated in the performance and interacted with Dick Deadeye, directed the pit. During intermission, the guitarist of the pit had to leave the show. The pit did not lack in his absence however and still played well.

Ciocco was also the costumer for the show. The show’s setting was in the 1920’s and the costumes were very accurate to the era. The stage was covered in sequins, fur and sailor stripes. The costumes created a dazzling effect when the lights shined on them.

The choreographer of the show was Maria Kegg. Choreography throughout the show had a simple charm. The cast stayed together on all dancing aspects and created a lovely pattern of movement that lit up the stage and often gave off a nautical feel that fit with the theme.

The set for the show was designed and built by Chris Plummer, Benjamin Riddle, Ethan Gilbert and Ryan Gilbert. This set, though minimalist, was just enough to convey the boat setting.

Audience members agreed that the show was entertaining. Senior Hannah Brock described it as “a captivating performance.” Brock said that “the cast all seemed together and looked like they were having fun, so that made it so much more exciting for the audience watching it.”

Although, audience member Kyle Donovan felt that the show “did not need the pop culture references” that were scattered throughout it. Donovan said, “Even though there were some pitch problems it was overall a good show and entertaining”.

This was the most challenging performance that the Gilbert and Sullivan players have ever undertaken as well as their last performance of the semester.

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