Concept Players present HMS Pinafore

 

By W.S. Gilbert & A. Sullivan

In our twentieth year we thought we would return to our roots and our very first production. Using loosely the same premise of half of the cast failing to turn up (there was a sink hole in the motorway - the police are looking into it!), Paul took the concept and changed it - no wooden sailors but mops and lady sailors, completed by a supposedly thrown together set which was a patchwork of colours.

It all started with an announcement from Nigel out front, followed by a overture a cappella which impressed the audience each night who erupted into applause each night.. Then all hell broke loose as the set was constructed with what was there (remember all the set was on the lost van with most of the male chorus).The sail was made from brooms and fabric cut-offs, the ship's wheel from brooms and mops, the bulwarks from the band rails. One of the big surprises was that the pivotal role of Dick Dead Eye was to be played by a woman! Cat took to this role with relish and perfected her "Ah-hars!" as she slunk across the stage. The addition of a song from Patience (“If you give me your attention”) showed off her voice beautifully considering she was such a disagreeable man. Though we suspect that by the end of the run she had enough of being concussed with a sugar-glass bottle at the end of Act 1 each night.

Captain Corcaran was also missing, so Chris was drafted in, though he made the audience gasp when he said he didn't know the difference between the Pirates of Penzance and HMS Pinafore - "They're all the same, aren't they!". And with that he bumbled across the stage gradually learning the part to great comic effect. Helen was our round and rosy Buttercup and with a broad Valley's accent she had the audience on side from the start. Josephine was played by Jo who imbibed the part with the right mix of coquettishness and steely wilfulness with lots of humour thrown in as well. The trio in the second act ("Never mind the why and wherefore") brought the house down with her drunken antics - "the tar who ploughed the daughter" being a highlight. She was supported by the dashing Ceri as the love interest Ralph Rackstraw. This was Ceri's first foray on to the dramatic stage and he took to it like a duck to water. With the arrival of Sir Joseph Porter KCB and his sisters, cousins and aunts the action hotted up. Neil was every inch the Monarch of the Sea and the audience liked his entrance through them in a little boat named "Kay Sea-Bea". Paul decided that the role of Hebe be split to get maximum comedy potential so Bev as Hebe was joined by Judy as Pheobe. Routinely "crushed" by the putdowns of Sir Joseph, they will probably be best remembered for their twerking gyrations to another added song "Although of native maids the cream" from Utopia Limited. Added to all this was some memorable performances from all the cast or sailors, sisters, cousins and aunts. Their characterisation was full-on which caught the interest of the audience from the start.

What was on stage looked beautiful, patchwork sails which, for the eagle-eyed in the audience, showed fabric from lots of recent shows and of course the costumes. None were hire but all were specifically made by a team of people under the guidance of Fiona. The ladies costumes in particular looked opulent and jewel-like which gave added colour and sparkle to the show.

Sound was under the auspices of Laura as always and Kevin lit the stage with Ellie, unusually not on stage, running them. The band was led by our MD Dave Thompson who did a cracking job of getting such a  beautiful and dynamic wall of sound from the Company.

All in all this was a fabulous fun show where the whole Company lit up the stage and showed what a team Concept Players really are.

 

 

Ceri and Jo as the lovestruck Ralph and Josephine

As always Captain Corcoran was accompanied by Buttercup

Neil was every inch the Monarch of the Sea

Ably supported by Bev as Hebe

and Judy as Pheobe