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Published date: July 11, 2019
Last modified: July 11, 2019

Young Critics Review 2019 – HMS Pinafore (by George Wiggin)

HMS Pinafore

Going into HMS Pinafore filled me with trepidation having realised that it was in fact an opera. I wanted it to change my opinion of opera for good but unfortunately it didn’t.

The directional team for this show however were purely inspirational. The way the stage was set in such a small venue such as the Guildhall was exceptional, its warm lighting cast from the four corners making the space feel larger than it is, yet strangely intimate. This was the key standout for me – the directive influence of this show.

I must however say the cast, as it is so small, played their roles fabulously and the singing was near flawless with Alys Roberts’ vocals purely mesmerizing as Josephine. However the acting within the show needed to be more plausible. For instance some of the facial expressions pulled throughout the show were utterly unsuited in multiple moments. HMS Pinafore is radically devoid of all seriousness; the faces pulled out of shock could be seen as faces of amusement. Any show’s role is to create a balance of emotion, to create the desired aura and feel. Therefore HMS Pinafore lacked this balance for me.

In my view a show based round such lighthearted and upbeat music should make me tap my feet without me knowing the tune. Enthusing those who are not enthused at all. Again it didn’t do that for me.

This show is definitely suited to an older audience and saying it is suitable for all ages is severely misleading; anyone under 12 would struggle to sit through the songs and this is the key problem with this show. My attention was not snatched, my mind not transported. I was not on a submarine – I was sat in the Lichfield Guildhall and not transported to the jolly HMS Pinafore.

As a professional company I wanted this opera to be different. Fun. There were small standout moments but much of it felt the same after the first 40 minutes. I’m still waiting for an opera to blow me away so i can understand the “Magic” of opera once and for all.

By George Wiggin (age 14)