I have always loved Gilbert and Sullivan for the witty lyrics and dialogue and also the beautiful melodies. True, the stories of some of their operettas are on the silly side but they are also fun. HMS Pinafore is in my top 3 favourites of theirs alongside The Mikado and especially The Pirates of Penzance, and this is a most entertaining production(that was followed on the DVD by an even better production of Trial By Jury, which I'll review separately), for me just as good as the very lively but not-for-everybody 1996 production and much better than the 1980s D'Oyly Carte performance(arguably the worst of a very hit-and-miss series). The only let down for me was the Buttercup of Collette Mann, who was vocally ill-suited to the role with a very raspy-sounding voice and in her acting I found her too raucous. Everyone else fares much better however, with David Hobson dashing and with a well-proportioned tenor voice and Tiffany Speight beguiling in both looks and voice. Richard Alexander also makes for a wickedly funny Dick DeadEye, and John Bolton-Wood does justice to his patter and proves to be a fine comedian which is a good thing for the character as vital to HMS Pinafore as Sir Joseph. Anthony Warlow, as well as having a wonderful voice, makes a very good impression as Captain Cocoran, it is a straight-forward approach in a way but not in a way that it's bland. The orchestral playing is suitably rousing and stylish, the conducting buoyant and the chorus well blended and not resorting to mugging. The production is updated(to Edwardian era) but it is a gentle updating, with elegant dresses and smart uniforms. The dialogue is also updated, but still witty and funny, nothing offensive whatsoever, while the staging is imaginative especially the opening and thoughtful with the cast assembled on ladders for For He is an Englishman. The editing on the whole for the DVD is decent if sometimes a little choppy, but not enough to completely hinder the performances. Overall, very entertaining and well done. 9/10 Bethany Cox
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