Monday, August 15, 2011

H.M.S. Pinafore

H.M.S. Pinafore doesn’t sound like a production for the famous Guthrie Theater, but it wowed the heck out of me!
by Charlie Leck

H.M.S. Pinafore will run at the Guthrie Theater for only a short time more – until August 28. If you are a local and haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it to you.

I had the opportunity to see the production on Saturday night and it knocked me out. Wow! I’ve been a Guthrie Theater fan for a long, long time. When I heard they were doing this comedic opera, I thought that it didn’t really sound like the Guthrie at all. I imagine them doing more serious things – even more serious comedy. I’ve always thought of Pinafore as something your local high school might try in the way of musicals.

Since I first had those simplistic thoughts, I’ve discovered that Pinafore ranks high among the live theatre crowd and it’s regarded as a classic. The Gilbert and Sullivan musical was first performed in London in 1878 at the Opera Comique. It ran for 571 performances. It’s been extraordinarily popular in both England and America for more than 130 years.

In addition to the spectacular set by Frank Hallinan Flood, I thought the choreography by David Bolger was perfect – and fun, exciting and dazzling. Andrew Cooke conducted the musicians and his renditions of the original music were done in an extraordinary contemporary flavor and it really rocked. The crowd loved it and gave the musicians a standing ovation at the curtain.

By the way, this production was directed by Joe Dowling, the Guthrie Theater’s Artistic Director. Thumbs up, Joe!

I’ve never seen people have so much fun at the Guthrie Theater. You could feel it with every laugh and the applause was always loud and spontaneous.

I’m no theater critic and I can’t review this play in any technical sort of way. I can only recommend it to you; and I do so – with great enthusiasm. I give it 5-stars.

Go to the Guthrie Theater soon. Have dinner first in their fifth floor, casual restaurant or splurge in the fabulous Sea Change restaurant on street level. It ranks with the “best nights out” anywhere in the nation.


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