The Vortex Theater Company’s HMS Pinafore reinvents the classic Gilbert & Sullivan work, creating a show that is both deranged children’s storybook theatre and homage.
Reviewed by Elizabeth Devlin
The elaborate, hysterical plots of a Gilbert & Sullivan show, told through elaborate, hysterical (and beautiful) music are firm in the hearts of many, musical theatre and opera fans alike. No wonder these shows are often treated like classical works of sculpture: they may be faithfully re-created as homage to genius, but are rarely reinvented.
The Vortex Theater Company’s HMS Pinafore does just that: reinvents the classic Gilbert & Sullivan work by taking its inspiration from Gilbert’s own retelling, “The Pinafore Picture Book.” Director Dave Dalton takes the idea of reinventing even further than that, creating a show that is both deranged children’s storybook theatre and homage. Gone are elaborate sets, costumes or even cast sizes: this show has only 7 cast members. From the narrator as a small, awe-struck girl to a Buttercup in drag, the show brings the original work to a new and imaginative level.
Standouts in the talented cast include David Macaluso and Jeni Tarde. Macaluso plays both Buttercup and Sir Joseph, switching easily between one’s bizarre, swooning antics and the other’s arrogant, hysterical pomp. He is clearly having way too much fun with that hoop skirt as Buttercup, and you can’t help but laugh. Tarde’s Josephine finds comedy in every moment as well, but it is her voice, perfection even when making a ridiculous face, which carries the role.
Vortex’s HMS Pinafore is tongue-in-cheek and artistically reverent at the same time, and certainly worth a look. Whether you enjoy G&S or have never experience a light opera, this show deserves “three cheers, and one cheer more.”
Vortex Theater Company’s HMS Pinafore
Based on Sir W.S Gilbert's "The Pinafore Picture Book: The Story of HMS PINAFORE"
Thurs. – Sun. @ 8:00, Sun. @ 5:00
March 5 - March 31, 2007
Sanford Meisner Theater
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