Reviews

Here are a selection from the reviews of our recent productions and concerts. We hope you enjoy reading them as much as we did.

On H.M.S. Pinafore (February 2014)

A MOTHER and daughter ‘team’ dominated this outstanding production of a popular operetta that was Gilbert and Sullivan’s first major success.

Ann Simpson, a member of the society for many years but making her debut as producer, introduced several novel features and tinkered with the story line slightly by including songs from two other shows, Patience and Princess Ida.

The changes worked extremely well, and Ann’s daughter, Karen Marie Lyon gave a stunning performance as Josephine, proud daughter of the Pinafore’s Captain who causes a class upset on board by falling for humble sailor Ralph Rackstraw (Steve Parrish).

Karen sang beautifully, cleverly exploiting the situation when the First Lord of the Admiralty, Sir Joseph Porter, assures her that his lofty position compared with her’s is no barrier to love.

Mac Hammond excelled as Sir Joseph, especially in the song where he explained that gaining a partnership was the only ship he had been on in his climb to become leader of the King’s navy.

Strong support, too, from Ian Askew (Captain Corcoran), Adrian Davies-Ratcliffe (Dick Deadeye), Mel Boland (Little Buttercup), Emma Jones (Psyche) and Gary Gentle (Bill Bobstay), while the chorus work, musical director Philippa Cruxton and the orchestra, plus colourful costumes added to a fine show.

Pinafore docked on Saturday night.

VERDICT: ****

PAUL MARSTON

On Pirates of Penzance/Trial By Jury (February 2013) NODA

A good evening’s entertainment from Walsall G & S Society. The evening commenced with
‘Trial by Jury’ and Pamela Robinson’s production was set in 2013 being dressed accordingly. I enjoyed hearing Emma Jones singing as the Plaintiff. From the Judge to the ‘nuisance man’ this was a fast moving piece with no time to let your mind wander. I particularly enjoyed the two cleaning ladies. Even though there is no raised stage at this venue but thanks to a well-designed set the audience could see every bit of the action. We even had the chance to hear the MusicalDirector sing. The second part of the evening was taken up with ‘The Pirates of Penzance’. Pam’s production had everything going for it including dedicated pirates. For me personally, it made a nice change to see a young Frederic, played by Steve Parrish. Steve Groves as the Major General lead the company well with good support from Bryan Till as The Pirate King and Ann Simpson as Ruth.
I really enjoyed hearing Karen Marie Lyon sing Mabel. A joy to listen to. Again a wonderful set and some really nice costumes.
These two productions were unusual as the orchestra was on the side of the stage area, but
saying that they did really well and every word could be heard from on stage.
One thing that did stand out was that there was no duplicate casting in each production.
This was the society’s 50th anniversary production. Congratulations to them and here’s to the next fifty.