|HMS Pinafore > Reviews > B Company in Bristol
From The Bristol Mercury and Daily Post (Bristol, England), Tuesday, June 27, 1882; Issue 10645.
Last night another of Mr. D'Oyly Carte's specially formed opera companies commenced a six nights' engagement at this house with Messrs. Gilbert and Sullivan's comic opera, "Pinafore," The piece has been so often given in Bristol that few playgoers can be unfamiliar with its fanciful and humorous story or its well-written and pleasing music, and the only matters regarding which we need trouble either our readers or ourselves are the way in which it was produced last night and the style in which it was acted.
In treating of the same popular writer's "Patience" last week we had to speak of a cast in which there had been only a single change since last the opera was performed in Bristol. Upon the present occasion there is only a single artist present who was here at the last engagement. Miss Laura Clement, who fills the rôle of Josephine, is not, it is true, unknown to us, having won much favour in Bristol some months ago by her naïve acting and sparkling vocalisation as Mabel in "The Pirates of Penzance." She is, however, new in the cast of "Pinafore," and the only one of the previous artists we are privileged again to welcome is Mr. Fred Billington, who during his former engagement played Bill Bobstay, the boatswain's mate, but who now fills the rôle of Captain Corcoran.
The piece went nicely, and for a first night remarkably well. The orchestral music, which is far from being of a simple kind, was rendered by the augmented band with much precision and spirit, so that the concerted numbers which constitute the strength of the opera went very satisfactorily, and evoked repeated applause.
The characters are all satisfactorily represented. Miss Laura Clement acts simply and naturally as Josephine, the captain's daughter, and warbles the music very sweetly; and Miss Bessie Armytage, if there to not quite as much of her, speaking physically and figure-atively, as there has been of some former exponents of the character, possesses a powerful contralto voice, and sings and acts with characteristic humour. Mr. Fred Billington is excellent as the captain. We fancied that he was a little flat in some of the earlier bars of the serenade in the second act, "Fair moon to thee I sing;" but with that exception be rendered the music generally very effectively, and acted with befitting dignity. Mr. Leumane is an excellent Ralph Rackstraw. He possesses a fine tenor voice, which he uses to advantage, and there are very few tenor singers who act as naturally and well as he does. Mr. Leonard Roche, too, presents a clever portraiture of the difficult and somewhat repulsively drawn character of Dick Deadeye, and does justice to the music of the part, whilst Mr. George Lackner is a very good Bill Bobstay, and nearly obtained an encore for his song, "He is an Englishman."
Having spoken of what may be termed the singing characters, let us accord a meed of commendation to Mr. John Le Hay's Sir Joseph Porter, K.C.B. He hits off the finicky portrait of the First Lord who sprang from nothingness to become the "Ruler of the Queen's Navee" with much characteristic humour.
Miss Beatrice Young's Hebe and Mr. Blythe's Bob Beckett are good impersonations, and the other comparatively minor characters are satisfactorily filled, and. the opera altogether went, we repeat, with spirit and effect. The mounting, we need hardly say, was excellent.
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