J. A. Di Bello’s review of the H. M. S. Pinafore

August 17, 2019

Tusten Theatre

Narrowsburgh, NY

     From the novice to the saddle weary, the comic operettas of a dynamic Victorian-era duo, Gilbert and Sullivan, continue to this day as tantalizing theatrical pleasures. On Saturday night, The Delaware Valley Opera Company (DVO) presented the honored and time-tested Her Majesty’s Ship, the H.M.S. Pinafore. This classic sample of Victorian theatre is less frequently but perhaps more appealingly known as The Lass Who Loved a Sailor.

Musical presentations of the type rendered popular by Gilbert and Sullivan were of the type known as “operettas.” They were, in that day, quite prophetic! For today’s musical theatre, e.g., Broadway/West End, is abundantly fond of utilizing the suitability of spoken dialogue. Additionally, the social issues of snobbery and hypocrisy remain ripe targets of the creative artists, weather they are found in the theatre or on the pages of a current bestseller. Stage Director Nicholas Wuehrmann has delivered an operettic production that remains as germane today as it was over a century ago. And not just incidentally, but the stage design is simple and attractively functional, as it should be.

Of course, there is no single attribute of the DVO serving to make this production appealing: it is the consequence of a dedicated and talented team. One of the more amazing attributes of DVO productions in Narrowsburg is the competency and effectiveness of the orchestra. Under careful eye of Director, Matthew Rupcich with a total of 9 proficient and effective musicians, Pinafore remains crisp and appealing.

Vocalist are the keys to making a success when given a Gilbert and Sullivan opera is to be staged. In this production, the sailors and sisters, cousins and aunts are superb and especially credible in the attractive costumes, by Patricia A, Hibbert Theatrical Designs.

Difficult as it may be to spoil the plot of this sea-born adventure, this writer is not even going to try. But deserving special attention is the wealth of fine actors displayed by DVO. Mary Burkart as Little Buttercup is more than a natural for the Narrowsburg stage. She is talented and hold the stage with rigor. Her training and experience isd evident and well Presented. Outrageously effective is bass-baritone Adam Cioffari as Dick Deadeye.

Our stalwart and courageous Captain Corcoran is brought to the foredeck of the H.M.S. Pinafore in admirable fashion (no pun intended) by an efficient baritone Seán Kroll. Further, multi-talented Elise Mark, as Josephine (the Lass), heads the list of actors living the part. Her training and experience provide a stage presence with that je ne sais quoi that makes this production work.

On the rise is tenor Cole Tornberg. as he portrays Ralph Rackstraw, the righious sailor who has the affectionate eye of the Captain’s daughter. His appeal keeps the plot and numerous discoveries moving.

As the performance draws to a close, the predictable happens, everyone is compatible as the H/ \M.S. Pinafore sails off and into the sunset. A wonderful time at theatre.

H. M. S Pinafore will continue it run at the Tusten Theatre in Narrowsburgh through Sunday, August 25th. Tickets and further information are available at the box off 1-845-887-3083 or on line at    http://www.delawarevalleyopera.com/

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