Friday, October 26, 2001


Opera della Luna at the Civic Theatre


Baldrick and Lady Bracknell in one evening ? A chance not given to many actors, but seized gleefully by Graham Hoadly in Opera della Luna’s sparkling pocket Pinafore at the Civic last week.

Eight singers and five musicians worked with enthusiasm and panache to give us the essence of G&S - doubling Deadeye with a formidable Aunt was just one ingenious example of making a virtue of necessity - I also enjoyed the Overture sequence, and the exquisitely Victorian opening to Act II, leading into the Captain’s equally Victorian ballad.

Ian Belsey was the middle class captain, with Joseph Shovelton looking and sounding just right as the patriotic pleb. Sarah Ryan’s pure, if slight, soprano was well suited to Josephine, and Louise Crane made a strong bumboat woman. The reliable David Timson gave a hilarious First Lord, true to tradition and relishing every word.

Not all conventions were ignored - the trio, with its encores, was only slightly sent up - but Jeff Clarke’s stripped-down version, which was first launched on the QE2, made the most of the ridiculous class-ridden snobberies behind Gilbert’s original libretto, whilst preserving the period charms of Sullivan’s music.