Friday I saw the Seattle Gilbert and Sullivan Society’s production of HMS Pinafore, along with a short ballet called Pineapple Poll. The latter is a modern creation by Sir Charles Mackerras, weaving together Sullivan’s music from the G&S canon and Gilbert’s The Bumboat Woman’s Story.
Both were brilliantly done. Pineapple Poll was performed by Spectrum Dance Company, with the lead role of Polly Pineapple danced by the stunning Meredith Webster. And Pinafore was simply the best rendition I’ve seen yet. Christine Goff’s stage direction led to a much more interactive combination between a play and opera. Characters looked at each other, instead of being singing props rooted to points on stage. Traditional jokes were augmented with some modernist fun — during “Never mind the why and wherefore” a loud cell phone ringtone is followed by Sir Joseph Porter pulling a gigantic phone out of his uniform to answer the call.
This year is the 50th anniversary for the Seattle Gilbert and Sullivan Society, and in a fun nod to history, this year’s Pinafore production closed with the 1887 “Rule Britannia” ending, originally performed in commemoration of Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee. The production was fun and well done, excelling the previous production in 1996. And it’s running for another week, don’t miss it!