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Sam. Willson, producer, director and conductor of Gilbert and Sullivan operettas locally has achieved another success in "HMS Pinafore, which is currently playing in Winthrop House Junior Common Room.
The show moves along rapidly and holds together beautifully. Once again, as a hallmark of Willson productions, the cast thoroughly enjoy itself, and creates that atmosphere of gaiety and lightheartedness is necessary for Gilbert and Sullivan.
There is only one major fault in the production outside of those caused by the space limitations of the Common Room, which cannot of course, be avoided. Operettas by Gilbert and Sullivan are delightfully humorous in themselves, and can get along quite well without scene stealing, mugging, and clowning on the part of any of the leads. Unfortunately, John Hutchinson was guilty of being unable to find the light touch in playing the part of Ralph Rackstraw.
On the brighter side, the chorus was excellent in all of its number Of special note was the sailors' singing of "A British Tar" halfway through the first act. Another high point was the triumphal entrance of the Sisters, Cousins, and Aunts.
Joan Dexter is far too pretty and slim to play the role of decaying middle-aged Buttercup. To make up for this faulty casting she gives the part an interpretation that is spirited and novel, if incorrect. Robert Peters as Captain Corcoran, Roger Murphy as Dick Deadeye, and David Shapiro as Sir Joseph Porter, and all far better than average amateur performers. Nancy Ryan's Cousin Hebe is one of the finest that I have ever seen.
With the polish and lack of nervousness that comes with a second performance, "HMS Pinafore" will unquestionably be another resounding hit.
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