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W.S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan's

HMS Pinafore

May 4th - October 21stAvon TheatreTicket Info
Generally Positive Reviews based on 9 Critics
  • bottom 28% of shows in the 2017 season
9 Reviews

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This is a listing for the 2017 season. For the current 2022 shows click here.

Stage Door - Christopher Hoile

Gripping and humorous at once

“What really makes this Pinafore shine is how well it is sung. For the most part the Festival has cast actors who may have appeared in musicals but who also can sing with the full, rounded tone tone and breath control needed for opera and operetta. One of the main delights of the show are all the songs sung by Mark Uhre as Ralph Rackstraw….

Uhre surprises with his expertise at acting slapstick and in delivering with such aplomb the comically polysyllabic speeches that Gilbert has written for Ralph as an indication of his high-born birth…

Jennifer Rider-Shaw uses a bright, fully operatic soprano for her songs and brings out more meaning in them than I have ever heard before. This is first time I have ever found Josephine’s scena “The Hours Creep on Apace” both gripping and humorous at once.”

Read Full Review07/27/2017

The National Post - Robert Cushman

Bravura coloratura.

“Jennifer Rider-Shaw brings off some bravura coloratura…

Musically, the production is irreproachable, and its imported notions never really obscure the point and fun of the original. What, never? Well, very seldom.”

Read Full Review06/14/2017

The Bard and the Boards - Robyn Godfrey

HMS Pinafore pokes fun at POTUS

“Ms. Wade brings the satire firmly into the 21st c,. however, with the appearance of The Rt. Hon. Sir Joseph Porter, KCB, First Lord of the Admiralty, played brilliantly by Laurie Murdoch.

Given that this character is based on a real man who, never having set foot on a ship or in the sea (read: never held a political office) was appointed (read: elected) to the most important seat in a time of great national uncertainty (you get it now)… well.

Give Mr. Murdoch an apricot-coloured wig perpetually askew and you can hardly miss the point. Mr. Murdoch is spot-on with the patter, never misses a comedic pop, and his diminutive stature gives this Admiral a ridiculousness on par with the shenanigans south of the 49th. IMHO he steals the show, though his brothers and sisters-in-arms are not far behind.”

Read Full Review06/09/2017

Capital Critics Circle - Jamie Portman

Waterlogged by the direction

“In brief there are some accomplished performers involved in this production. The unwelcome elephant in the room is its director.

The warning signals appear as soon as the overture begins. The Avon Theatre’s curtain rises to reveal what appears to be the entrance hall of a stately home on England’s South Coast, except that there are nurses and patients running around and some indication that a performance is about to take place.”

Read Full Review06/03/2017

James Wegg Review - James Wegg

Happily-ever-after production

“As Captain Corcoran, Steve Ross gave one of the finest performances yet seen in this pivotal role: timing, vocal chops and a visage that spoke volumes further cemented his exemplary skills already on view in the previous evening’s Guys and Dolls. More, please.”

Read Full Review06/03/2017

The Toronto Star - Carly Maga

HMS Pinafore veers off course

“The entire cast and ensemble carry Arthur Sullivan’s music ably, and deliver W.S. Gilbert’s wry sense of humour, but get overwhelmed by busy stage business that overstuffs the production with gags that don’t quite land — the sound of cat screeching when a character careens offstage, characters getting seasick out of nowhere, and a preoccupation with characters spying on each other out of two swinging doors on the ship’s deck.”

Read Full Review06/03/2017

Broadway World - Lauren Gienow

PINAFORE hits the high seas, high...

“Rider-Shaw has a golden voice and a commanding presence when she takes the stage alone for her performances of Sorry Her Lot and The Hours Creep On Apace. She is also fantastic when matched up with Ross and Murdoch for the best rendition of Never Mind the Why and Wherefore that I’ve seen. She is graceful and funny and can immediately win the audience over with a knowing glance or a well-timed glare or eye roll.”

Read Full Review06/01/2017

The Stratford Beacon Herald - Geoff Dale

Pinafore sets sail for a grand season

“With every production there is clearly a scene-stealer, in some cases a show-stealer. The distinction this time belongs to Laurie Murdoch, offering up an intoxicating mix of broad and subtle humour, song and dance, personal sound effects and a stage presence that draws attention to his marvelous characterization of the Rt. Hon. Sir Joseph Porter, First Lord of the Admiralty.

Performing a deft juggling act that shifts moment to moment from arrogance and utter bewilderment to shades of both lucidity and lunacy, he is a marvel to behold as he sings “thought so little, they rewarded me by making me the Ruler of the Queen’s Navy” Gilbert’s cheerfully insightful take on the absurdity of the ruling class of the time.”

Read Full Review06/01/2017

The Globe and Mail - J. Kelly Nestruck

Stratford Festival’s staging of...

“There’s a brilliantly performed production of HMS Pinafore on at the Avon Theatre right now – but you have to constantly look past what director Lezlie Wade and choreographer Kerry Gage have imposed on top of it to find it.

Wade has spent her energies in the wrong places.”

Read Full Review06/01/2017

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