Reviewed by Joseph Michael Mishler
HMS Pinafore by Gilbert and Sullivan opened on Thursday at the Kearsley Park Pavilion, and it did so with tremendous energy.
It was a near perfect night for outdoor theatre and the Kearsley Park Players, under the direction of Kay Kelly, did not disappoint the enthusiastic audience. With minimal lighting, no microphones, and a live orchestra, the Players worked their magic. Even the bugs cut us some slack. This reviewer greatly appreciates a cast that handles the acting and stage fundamentals correctly. I give them high marks for that effort.
HMS Pinafore is an old, but funny tale of the strange ways of love. The captain of the ship wants his daughter to marry a man with a high social position, but she loves a common sailor. The powerful man tries every trick in the book to influence the daughter, but – you will have to go see the musical to find out who the lucky man is. But there is more to this love fraught play. Love is a powerful game changer.
The singing and acting in this musical were excellent. The choreography was also well done. The ensemble sports a considerable number of people who can sing and project. Everyone in the ensemble did all of the little things that make the entire show stand out. Facial and body expressions were all well played. The show started with gusto and stayed that way.
David Lindsey/Captain Corcoran fit the bill of the captain to a tee. Using a combination a voice and expressions he kept everything fresh on stage throughout the musical. Eric Gregory/Bill Bobstay-the Boatswain gave a strong performance. He was very convincing as the man in charge. His strong voice echoed through the pavilion.
Kim Streby/Miss Cripps-Little Buttercup played the vixen wonderfully. Nobody escaped her feminine wiles, or smarts. And, of course, she is the one who knows the secret that will help end the musical properly.
Greg Hassold/Dick Deadeye played a very damaged and “ugly” sailor. Of course he had a patch over one eye and his uniform was the only dirty one on stage. His cynicism and negativity were a canker on the ship and he spared no one. Greg performed this part superbly. He even gets a girl at the end – we are still not sure how that happened.
Emily Carter/ Josephine (Captain’s daughter) was a perfect fit for this part. She gave a strong performance and is a beautiful singer. It was quite convincing as to who she really loved.
Tim Ruwart/Sir Joseph Porter and his muttonchops gave a good portrayal of an older rich guy trying to marry a much younger girl. We loved watching his bluster and pontificating on stage.
The Ladies and the Men’s Chorus deserve mention. They sang and danced with great energy and they looked like they were having fun. When a cast is having fun, the whole performance is enhanced. There was good chemistry on this stage.
The costuming was well crafted and the stage gave the feel of being on a sailing vessel. I don’t think there was one inch of the stage that wasn’t used. The orchestra was a gem. There were a few times it was a bit hard to hear actors, but those were few and far between.
The cast and crew received a vigorous standing ovation, and then gave an encore. It was announced at the end of the performance that this will be the last production at the Kearsley Park Pavilion. It’s a sad turn of events because the Kearsley Park Players have a proud history of productions at the pavilion. Kay Kelly was recognized for all of her work over the past 12 or so years and she received a very enthusiastic standing ovation.
Her remarks ended with, “Say good things about Flint!” Judging by this performance there are elements of Flint that are clearly alive and well.
HMS Pinafore is suitable for everyone. I strongly recommend this production. It offers a lot of fun for all. You might even find yourself singing along with the cast. HMS Pinafore will be performed Aug 26 & 27 at 7:30 pm, and August 28 at 2 pm. Kearsley Park is located off of Longway Blvd. on Kearsley Blvd. Kearsley is closed, but if you go to the next road to the left you will see signs and find your way to the park. Parking is right next to the Pavilion. Reservations can be made by calling 810-845-4050 or visiting their website www.kearsleyparkplayers.com.