The award-winning team that took The Pirates of Penzance to Cate Blanchett’s Sydney Theatre, and enthralled Bath audiences on their debut visit last year, will be making a keenly-anticipated return to the city as Sasha Regan’s all male H.M.S. Pinafore tours to the Theatre Royal for the first time from Tuesday 31st May to Saturday 4th June.
With its infectious tunes and beautifully constructed libretto, H.M.S. Pinafore makes a perfect match with Sasha Regan’s inimitable style – fresh, fast, inventive and an absolute must-see!
In Gilbert and Sullivan’s much-loved comic opera, when lowly tar, Ralph Rackstraw, falls for the Captain’s Daughter, Josephine, the age old conundrum of love between the classes ensues. Pledged by her father to marry the head of the British navy, Sir Joseph Porter, Josephine’s bacon is saved thanks to a remarkable twist of fate.
A huge success at Hackney Empire in 2014, Sasha Regan’s unique production is set in the hold of a Second World War battleship. Joyful, witty and fun for all the family, prepare to be thoroughly entertained by H.M.S Pinafore as you’ve never seen it before.
The talented sixteen-strong male cast skilfully play both burly sailors, in the working underbelly of the vessel, and their lady visitors in this frisky, innovative and heartfelt production. Once again Sasha Regan’s acclaimed staging uses a simple set and beautiful costume-designs to allow maximum scope for inventiveness from the company, allowing both physicality and voice to remain the key to telling the story.
Gilbert’s gift for comical lyrics and situations is brilliantly matched by the infectious mirth of Sullivan’s quick-witted, light-hearted musical numbers in this delightful, sea-faring show which features the songs, For He Is An Englishman, I’m Called Little Buttercup, We Sail the Ocean Blue, When I Was A Lad and I Am the Monarch of the Sea.
Returning to Bath following their memorable performances in Sasha Regan’s The Pirates of Penzance last year, are Neil Moors as Captain Corcoran, Michael Burgen as Joseph Porter, James Waud as Dick Deadeye, Ben Irish as Josephine, and Richard Russell Edwards as Hebe. They are joined by Tom Senior, who plays the role of Ralph Rackstraw, alongside David Mckechnie as Buttercup. Also returning from the 2015 company are Joel Elferink, Tommy Knapp and Liam Lakin. The 2016 Ensemble is completed by Chris Durtnal, Paul McDowell, George Hinson, James Sinclair, Miguel Angel and Will Keith.
Following the phenomenon which was Matthew Bourne’s all-male Swan Lake and Propeller’s all-male productions of Shakespearean classics, Sasha Regan’s thrilling productions of Gilbert and Sullivan classics grew from humble beginnings playing to 50 people under a railway arch at the Union Theatre in Southwark in 2009. After winning the award for Best Off-West End production, her staging of The Pirates of Penzance enjoyed a six-week run at the historic Wilton’s Music Hall in London, followed by runs at Kingston’s Rose Theatre and London’s Hackney Empire. In 2012 the show toured to Australia, selling out in Adelaide and Cate Blanchett’s Sydney Theatre, where it played the main house for three-weeks.
Sasha Regan is Artistic Director of The Union Theatre, which she founded in 1998, and where her credits include Sweeney Todd, Iolanthe, The Pirates of Penzance, Whistle Down the Wind, Cabaret and Love Story. H.M.S Pinafore is choreographed by Lizzi Gee, whose recent work includes the BAFTA award-winning film Pride, the UK tour of Annie Get Your Gun, A Winter’s Tale for the RSC, and Rocket to the Moon at the National Theatre. Lizzi was nominated for Best Choreographer for H.M.S. Pinafore at the Off West End Awards 2014. Musical direction is by Richard Bates with design by Ryan Dawson-Laight and lighting design by Tim Deiling.
W.S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan’s H.M.S. Pinafore first opened in 1878 at London’s Opera Comique, becoming the second-longest run of any musical theatre piece at the time. Marking their fourth operatic collaboration, it was Gilbert and Sullivan’s first international sensation. When Pinafore was first revived in London in 1887, it was already treated as a classic. Recognised for its significant contribution to the development of modern musical theatre; today H.M.S. Pinafore remains one of Gilbert and Sullivan’s most popular works, and continues to influence popular culture with its songs featuring in the films Chariots of Fire, Raiders of the Lost Ark and Star Trek, and recent name-checks in hit global television series including West Wing, Family Guy and The Simpsons. Gilbert and Sullivan constantly updated their work with satirical, political and social references and Sasha Regan’s extraordinary production adds another delicious twist to this classic.
H.M.S Pinafore tours to the Theatre Royal Bath from Tuesday 31st May to Saturday 4th June. Tickets are available from the Theatre Royal Bath Box Office on 01225 448844 or online at www.theatreroyal.org.uk
Photo credit: Roy Tan and Kay Young