Theatre Review: Trial by Jury and HMS Pinafore

Theatre Review: Trial by Jury and HMS Pinafore

The South Australian Light Opera Society (SALOS) are presenting not one but two Gilbert & Sullivan classics, ‘Trial By Jury’ and ‘HMS Pinafore’ at their home base, the Tower Arts Centre, Pasadena


Presented by South Australian Light Opera Society (SALOS)
Reviewed 10 August 2017

Although the principals sang well and the chorus was excellent, as was the musical accompaniment, the performance was let down by the lack of direction from Pam Tucker, costumes and poor lighting. This last issue may well have been related to the first as actors changed positions on stage for no discernible reason and consequently were then performing in the shadows.

Similarly, a firm directorial hand was missing in the choice of costumes. I have no problems with Trial by Jury being presented in modern dress but when the female chorus come on clearly wearing their own clothes could not the director have issued some guidelines as to style and colour? The cleaner was identifiable as such only by her feather duster and apron as the rest of her outfit looked as if she was dressed for a disco – sparkly red top and black skirt with silver stars.

I enjoyed HMS Pinafore more and had high hopes as the sailors came on wearing matching uniforms.  But again there were glitches: one of the sailors was wearing a modern wristwatch and the women’s costumes were a mish mash of styles and fabrics in all the colours of the rainbow. Alex Bond  gave a highly amusing – especially his quirky little dances – and polished performance as Captain Corcoran. Danielle Ruggiero-Prior sang the role of Josephine very well and I especially liked her delightful interplay with Ralph Rackstraw, her heart’s desire, equally well played by Timothy Markham.

I have been involved in amateur theatre for many years and am well aware that many productions are staged on a very tight budget.  Nonetheless, I think if performers are going to wear their own clothes – whether modern or period – then the director has to consider the overall effect, particularly when there is such a large ensemble as in these shows. I am a fan of Gilbert and Sullivan’s work and I was disappointed that I found myself focusing on the problems rather than the stirring music and singing.

Reviewed by Jan Kershaw

Venue:  Tower Arts Centre, Cnr Daws and Goodwood Rds, Pasadena
Season:  10,11,12,18 August at 8pm 12,13,19, 20 August at 2pm
Duration:  2hours 50 mins
Tickets:  Tickets $25 Adults $22 Conc and Matinee $11 for children.
Bookings:  Bookings phone Pam Tucker 8294 6582


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