Gilbert and Sullivan Archive

H.M.S. Pinafore

Review from The Staffordshire Sentinel

25 Jan 1887, pg 2

Last evening, a highly successful performance of the Gilbert and Sullivan opera of "Pinafore" was was given in the Bucknall National Schools by the members of the Bucknall Amateur Dramatic Society. The cast was as follows:

The Right Honorable Sir Joseph Porter, K. C. B.,
First Lord of the Admiralty:
Mr. F. Wooliscraft.
Captain Corcoran, Commanding H. M. Pinafore:Mr. J. Twigg
Tom Tucker, Midshipmite:Master John Fenton
Ralph Rackstraw, Able Seaman:Mr. R. Eyre.
Dick Deadeye, Able Seaman: Mr. S. Jackson
Bill Bobstay, Boatswain:Mr. J. McGowan
Bob Beckett, Boatswain's Mate:Mr. F. Stockton
Josephine, the Captain's Daughter:Miss A. Mayer
Hebe, Sir Joseph's First Cousin:Miss M. Curry.
Little Buttercup, a Portsmouth Bumboat Woman: Miss H. Wooliscraft.
First Lord's Sisters, His Cousins, His Aunts, Sailors, Marines & Co.

The Ralph Rackstraw of Mr. Eyre was a capital performance. Mr. Eyre entered thoroughly into the spirit of the character. he sang his music in an able manner, and as a consequence was frequently applauded. Miss A. Mayer as Josephine, and Miss H. Wooliscraft as Little Buttercup, deserve special commendation for their respective efforts, and indeed, a complimentary word is justly due to the principals, without exception for their eminently satisfactory efforts . The choruses were admirably given, and the orchestra, strengthened for the occasion by professional element, acquitted itself as effectively as could be desired. The whole performance, indeed, evidenced most careful preparation and judicious training. It may be added that the stage was filled up to represent the quarterdeck of H. M. S. Pinafore, off Portsmouth. The dresses, which were supplied by Birkenshaw of Liverpool, were very pretty and attractive. At the commencement, the rev. Julian Tuck, curate of Bucknall, recited the following prologue, composed by himself for the occasion:

"Ladies and Gentlemen - once more, welcome here;
Once more the Bucknall Amateurs appear.
Upon the stage, and I am asked to say
A word of introduction to the play.
First, if you ask what the piece is played for,
We may reply, "Our bells are not yet paid for."
But every little helps, and what is made
By these performances our funds will aid,
The balance we are hoping to provide
By holding a bazaar at Easter-tide,
In which bazaar we make request that you
Will bring your friends, and bring your money too,
Our bells sound sweetly now, but sweeter still
Will be their sound when we have paid the bill.
Talking of bills, the playbills which you hold
May make you think the effort somewhat bold.
For us to try what justice could be done.
To Sullivan's music and to Gilbert's fun,.
All in this performance take a part
Owe cordial thanks to Mr. D'Oyly Carte,
Who gave us leave to play this piece two nights,
And charged nothing for the acting rights..
Some say, perhaps (it may sound like bravado).
"Patience" might be produced, or "The Mikado,"
Or "Princess Ida," if this last were played,
Here's the young ladies college ready made!
And when we act it, if you've no objection,
We'll ask you to come. To our inspection
To mount an opera like the "Pinafore,"
And make our school look like a man-of-war,.
Has cost some trouble, and some time as well,
(That is true our managers can tell).
Some of you know the opera; bear in mind
We're inexperienced amateurs, so be kind..
If the piece drags, forgive the faults you see;
If it goes well, applaud as heartily.
Perhaps you recognize old friends again,
The Ruler of the Queen's Navee, his train
Of female relatives; the Captain, too,
The British tars, who form the good ship's crew;
If for the first time, "Pinafore" you see,
'Twill have at least the charm of novelty - .
"Her Majesty's Ship" Pinafore we chose,
For this is Jubilee Year, and I suppose
No better piece could we, as subjects loyal,
Have acted at the Bucknall Theatre Royal,
Where all in front, and all behind the scene
Are faithful subjects of our gracious Queen,
Who wish to see her enemies cast down.
United still her Empire, safe her crown;
The 'Union Jack' yet waving in the breeze,
Britannia owned the mistress of the seas.
And so, before we separate to-night, .
All in the National Anthem will unite.
My task is finished now - I'll say no more,
And hope you'll all enjoy the "Pinafore."

The performance was in aid of the "Bell Fund," and will be repeated this evening.

This review was submitted to the G&S Archive by Louis Silverstein.

Page created 7 October 2000