This show finished on Friday 07 April 2023, and this page is being kept for archival purposes only.

EUSOG Presents: "HMS Pinafore"


Tuesday 04 April - Friday 07 April 2023


Bedlam Theatre


12/9 pounds


W.S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan


All aboard H.M.S. Pinafore for a tale of forbidden love, dark secrets and some rather fabulous musical numbers.

This production promises high drama and high kicks as the captain’s daughter falls for a lowly sailor in this all-singing, all-dancing nautical cabaret!


Owen Hatch - Ralph Rackstraw
Hannah Brown - Josephine Corcoran
Gemima Iseka-Bekano - Buttercup
Harry Lempriere-Johnston - Captain Corcoran
Charles Barber - Sir Joseph Porter
Felix Foote - Dick Deadeye
Mackenzie Rian Perry - Cousin Hebe
Bella Cripwell - Boatswain
Jamie Gilson-Barnett - Carpenter
Alix Burness - Sailor
Richeldis Brosnan - Sister
Alana Clark - Aunt
Lydia Cross - Sister
Abby Harkness - Aunt
Emily Paterson - Sailor
Femke Pieterse - Cousin
Mick Zijdel - Sailor

Production Team

Fraser Grant - Director
Sally Franks - Choreographer and Assistant Director
Kathleen Davie - Musical Director
Falk Meier - Assistant Musical Director and Conductor
Fiona Forster - Co-Producer
Giulia Lovrecich - Co-Producer

Backstage Team

Emily Richards - Production Manager
Amy Stinton - Stage Manager
Luca Stier - Set Manager
Ellie Anderson - Costume Designer
Holly Spragg - Set Designer
Elissa Hunter-Dorans - Stage Assistant
Iona White - Set Assistant
Freya White - Set Assistant
Alice Courtney - Costume Assistant
Zofia Klim - Costume Assistant

Tech Team

Martha Barrow - Tech Manager
Lewis Eggeling - Lighting Designer
Tom Beazley - Sound Designer
Karolina Pavlikova - Lighting Assistant


Falk Meier - Conductor
Lasma Ribule - Violin 1
Srishti Ramkrishnan - Violin 1
Alice Brown - Violin 2
Marzia Golini - Violin 2
Rebecca Paton - Viola
Matilda Sills - Cello
Alex Frost - Cello
Lauren Mooney - Flute 1
Emily Jacobs - Flute 2 / Piccolo
Caterina Lue - Oboe
Joseph Dax - Clarinet 1
Caitlin Lacey - Clarinet 2
Gavin Lee - Trumpet
Reuben Simon - French Horn
Ronnie Sellar - Trombone
Amelia Brenan - Percussion

Cast and Crew


Actor (Buttercup) Gemima Iseka-Bekano

Actor (Carpenter) Jamie Gilson-Barnett

Actor (Ensemble) Alana Clark

Actor (Josephine) Hannah Brown

Actor (Sailor) Mick Zijdel

Assistant Musical Director / Conductor Falk Meier

Costume Designer Ellie Anderson

Lighting Assistant Karolina Pavlikova

Lighting Designer Lewis Eggeling

Percussion Amelia Brenan

Producer Fiona Forster

Production Manager Emily Richards

Set Assistant Freya White

Set Assistant Iona White

Set Designer Holly Spragg

Set Manager Luca Stier

Sound Designer Tom Beazley

Stage Assistant Elissa Hunter-Dorans

Tech Manager Martha Barrow

Review for EUSOG Presents: "HMS Pinafore" -

Tuesday 04 April - By Allan Wilson for All Edinburgh Theatre

Edinburgh University’s Savoy Opera Group’s latest production brings a new approach to HMS Pinafore, one of Gilbert and Sullivan’s most popular comic operas.

Having directed four previous versions with the traditional Victorian warship setting, director Fraser Grant describes in the programme notes how he has reimagined the production as a ‘nautical cabaret … simplifying the set and adding some high kicks’. Almost surprisingly, it actually works beautifully.

As the excellent band, conducted by Falk Meier, begins the overture from an alcove just off stage, individual sailors take their places along a row of nine wooden chairs, making final adjustments to their make up as they playfully interact.

Soon the chairs are moved to the side of the stage and the sailors begin the opening song, We sail the ocean blue, accompanied by an energetic and acrobatic hornpipe, incorporating elements from other dance forms. The ensemble work is excellent, as it is throughout the show. pantomime villain

The key characters are introduced over the opening scenes. Little Buttercup, a dockside vendor with an important secret, is played by Gemima Iseka-Bekano in a beautifully sultry contralto voice. Owen Hatch’s slightly camp, but heroic, Ralph Rackstraw joins his fellow sailors and confesses his love for the Captain’s daughter, Josephine, in a beautiful rendering of The Nightingale.

The other sailors are generally supportive, but suggest that there is little hope of success. The one exception is a scornful Dick Deadeye, played by Felix Foote, clearly relishing his role as the pantomime villain.

The popular Captain Corcoran (well played by Harry Lempriere-Johnston) comes on board and greets his crew with warmth and politeness, claiming that he never (well, hardly ever) uses bad language. He tells Buttercup of his hopes that his daughter will marry Sir Joseph Porter, the First Lord of the Admiralty.

When Josephine, beautifully played by Hannah Brown, arrives she admits that she has fallen in love with a humble sailor from his crew, but as she is a dutiful daughter she will never reveal her feelings to the sailor. pomposity and verve

Sir Joseph Porter, skilfully portrayed with pomposity and verve by Charles Barber, describes how he rose to become ruler of the “Queen’s nayvee” to a circle of admirers seated around him. He gives a lesson in etiquette and emphasises that a British sailor is any man’s equal (except his).

Encouraged by this, Ralph eloquently confesses his love for Josephine, but she haughtily rejects him. A devastated Ralph threatens to kill himself with a pistol, only to be stopped by Josephine who finally admits that she does love him and they agree to elope together.

Hannah Brown and Owen Hatch with members of the HMS Pinafore cast. Pic: Izzy Ponsford

The opening of the second act departs from the usual plot with a witty scene involving Sir Joseph, Captain Corcoran, Josephine and Sir Joseph’s cousin, Hebe, nicely portrayed by Mackenzie Rian Perry, seated around a table, enjoying a meal, served by Ralph.

Sir Joseph later tells Captain Corcoran of his disappointment that Josephine has not yet agreed to marry him, to which the Captain suggests that she may be dazzled by his exalted rank and wonders if he might persuade her that love levels all ranks. Josephine has been swithering between choosing reason and a life of luxury and food from Waitrose with Sir Joseph, or love and poverty with Ralph. a great sense of fun

When Sir Joseph uses the Captain’s argument with Josephine she says that she will “hesitate no longer” and prepares to elope with Ralph. The lovers are discovered as they try to leave the ship and Ralph is put in chains. At this point, Buttercup returns to the ship and reveals her big secret, allowing the leading characters to find their correct partner and to celebrate a happy ending.

The Savoy Opera Group present HMS Pinafore as a comedy of status and manners, underpinned by secrets and lies. The performance is full of energy, enthusiasm and a great sense of fun. The ensemble work is impressive and the lead characters show genuine talent in their approaches to songs that are very familiar.


Review for EUSOG Presents: "HMS Pinafore" -

Tuesday 04 April - By Mhairi Sime for Corr Blimey

Edinburgh University Savoy Opera Group reimagine the well-known and loved Gilbert & Sullivan classic H.M.S Pinafore as a light-hearted comedic cabaret. The cast, crew and musicians take the audience on a rapid romp through the plot aboard the H.M.S. Pinafore where love, secrets, confusion, and quick-paced musical numbers reign supreme.

The talented orchestra led by conductor Falk Meier enthusiastically present the familiar melodic overture, welcoming the audience to the show. The HMS Pinafore would be lost at sea without their gallant crew, consisting of Bella Cripwell’s Boatswain, Jamie Argo’s Carpenter and the sailors Alix Burness, Emily Paterson, and Mick Zjidel, who all succeed in maintaining the production’s pace and energy throughout the performance with genuine talent and mirth. Felix Foote’s bitter Dick Deadeye provides the perfect antagonist for the group of boisterous sailors, with effective line delivery and use of physicality.

Commanding the stage effortlessly, Gemima Iseka-Bekano’s Buttercup makes an impression from their first entrance with “I’m called Little Buttercup” maintaining an air of intrigue about their character while pitching a rather splendid contralto voice through the Bedlam Theatre space. Harry Lempriere-Johnston portrays Captain Corcoran as bold and beloved by his crew, delivering dialogue naturally and confidently while embracing the theatrical cabaret required by the role. Iseka-Bekano’s chemistry with Lempriere-Johnston’s Captain during their tango-inspired duet to “Things Are Seldom What They Seem” is a highlight of the production.

Sentimental and consistently the centre of attention on deck, Owen Hatch portrays the love-struck Ralph Rackshaw, although whether the character is more in love with Josephine or themselves is left up to the audience to decide. Hatch makes the performance appear effortless, simultaneously delivering a comedically and vocally skilled portrayal. Hannah Brown’s Josephine is accustomed to getting her way, with her conflict between head and heart, luxury and love exemplified in her solos.

The standout characterisation of the performance is from Charles Barber’s Sir Joseph Porter, with their unique line delivery, facial expressions and self-righteous idiocy. The trio of Lempriere-Johnston, Barber and Brown performing “Never Mind the Why and Wherefore” showcases why this performance of HMS Pinafore works in favour of Grant’s nautical cabaret variety, Gilbert & Sullivan’s piece has always had a grasp of the comedic, and the increasingly ridiculous characterisation and physicality to Sally Franks choreography build upon it, bringing it to life with lashing of vim.

Any mention of Sir Joseph would simply never be complete without his sisters and his cousins and his aunts, enthusiastically portrayed by a splendid ensemble formed of Mackenzie Rian Perry as Cousin Hebe, Richeldis Brosnan and Lydia Cross as the sisters, Femke Pieterse, Alana Clark and Abby Harkness as the cousins and the aunts – all of whom carry the required pomp, vitality and having tremendous fun. And with such diverse and largely egocentric personalities onstage, Frank’s engaging, comedic choreography expertly showcases the character’s personalities, as well as occasionally getting the cast to embody the ship. Luca Stier’s unassuming set design cleverly uses a few key props to maximise comedic effect, the cast playfully utilising as much of the space as they are physically able.

With this production of HMS Pinafore, EUSOG draws the audience deep into the story and have an enormous amount of fun with Grant in rejuvenating, whilst respecting the source material, which is evident in the performances and structure. And even where the mildest of choppy waves and vocals may arise, these are drowned out in the torrent of exquisite and passionate talents aboard this impressive musical marvel of a comedic opera.

Enormous Fun


Review for EUSOG Presents: "HMS Pinafore" -

Wednesday 05 April - By Melissa Jones for North West End UK

H.M.S. Pinafore or The Lass That Loved A Sailor tells the story of a timeless trope – despite societal differences, love really does level all ranks. But because this is Gilbert and Sullivan’s take on the matter, there’s a lot of wry satire, some song and dance and a bit of farce before we reach that delightful conclusion.

The story is simple, Josephine Corcoran ([Hannah] Brown) daughter of Captain Corcoran (Harry Lempriere-Johnston) of the H.M.S Pinafore, is in love with Ralph Rackstraw (Owen Hatch) a lowly seaman. As her betrothed Sir Joseph Porter, First Lord of the Admiralty (Charles Barber), steps on board the ship, Josephine must make some important life changing decisions about which man she should marry.

Upon arrival the Bedlam Theatre does not look like it can stomach a Gilbert and Sullivan operetta. The 17-strong orchestra are hunched up in the corner of the performance space, while the stage doesn’t look like it could swing a cat o’nine tails. However, when the orchestra begins under the baton of Falk Meier, it becomes clear that one should not judge a book by its cover. Musical director Kathleen Davie has run a tight ship with orchestra to create strongly blended ensemble. And rather pleasingly illuminated the Turner-inspired set designed by Holly Spragg- both musical direction and set together make for great partners.

As the production progresses it is clear that Fraser Grant has excelled in so many areas. Firstly, he’s given a refreshing spin on a production that many G&S fans can sing backwards and has cast a fine ensemble who each excel and shine in their roles and the movement. And with assistance from choreographer Sally Franks has them perfectly tuned to the confines of the Bedlam Stage. And with minimal setting and props, some well curated costumes, the cast bring this opera to life with tremendous gusto with characterisation and movement. On the whole it’s truly heart warming.

In Owen Hatch, the audience is treated to well-hammed up 50s style matinee idol Ralph Rackstraw, who’s striking twists and turns leave the audience in stitches. Hatch’s gentle vocals and comic delivery make for a very pleasing Ralph. They are complimented beautifully by Hannah Brown, whose voice sparkles as she ascends into the upper registers of her voice. Harry Lempriere-Johnston’s Captain Corcoran and Charles Barber’s Sir Joseph Porter battle it out in the comic stakes for best comedy presence on stage, both with outstanding voices that are the highlight of the production. And, Gemima Iseka-Bekano’s Buttercup is a solid performance, bringing out the character’s cheeky yet authoritative side, well.

Yes, this is a student production. And yes, the budget is low. But this is a brilliant example of how a simple production with excellent direction, artistic vision and wise casting choices can make for a delightful evening of entertainment. If you love Gilbert and Sullivan, and you’re willing to make allowances for some modern twists, this energetic bunch of students singing out Sullivan’s best tunes is an absolute joy.


Review for EUSOG Presents: "HMS Pinafore" -

Tuesday 04 April - By Ella Catherall for The Student

HMS Pinafore is a classic Gilbert and Sullivan ‘comic opera’ about the crew and residents of the titular ship. This includes Ralph Rackstraw, a humble sailor in love with Josephine, the daughter of the ship’s Captain. The plot is kicked into gear by the arrival of the First Lord of the Admiralty, Sir Joseph Porter (Charles Barber), who is effectively betrothed to Josephine. Hilarity ensues, with the show capping off with an unexpected amount of incest.

I was fully expecting to dislike this show and be praising performances and design in spite of the material. It’s safe to say that I’m not a particular fan of opera. However, one of the characters, the dastardly Dick Deadeye (Felix Foote), falls over about 3 minutes in. From this point, it became abundantly clear that this show is essentially a 2-and-a-half-hour-long episode of ‘The Muppet Show’. As such, I had a very good time.

All the performers exhibit brilliant voices in this production. Particular praise has to go to Harry Lempriere-Johnston as the Captain, Hannah Brown as Josephine, and Gemima Iseka-Bekano as Buttercup. The comedic performances in this show are equally excellent. Charles Barber does a wonderful job of singing in his character’s voice, which sounds like a very accurate impression of Sir Didymus from ‘Labyrinth.’ In addition, the physical comedy that Owen Hatch, as Ralph, and the other sailors, are able to pull off is very, very effective.

From a design perspective, there is very little to fault. The clear highlight to me was the costume design by Ellie Anderson – there is not a single character in this show who is poorly costumed; of note were the dresses worn by Josephine and Sir Joseph Porter’s sisters, cousins and aunts. It was difficult to believe these were costumes from a student show – they looked incredible.

The one more sizable flaw that could be picked with this production is that the language used within the songs and script is a tad archaic, and so I can imagine it could be difficult to follow the plot if you hadn’t read the plot on Wikipedia first. However, it is for this very reason that I also want to draw attention to the incredible choreography of Sally Frank. Even in moments where you have absolutely no idea what a character means, the movement on stage means you’re always having a good time. Someone on stage is always doing something ridiculous, which is an utter joy. The direction by Fraser Grant must also be praised here – he has been able to turn what could be quite a foggy plot into something really quite clear and very entertaining.

Overall, I would highly, highly recommend HMS Pinafore. There are some minor flaws I could point out if I wanted to be particularly picky. However, these could fit in one set of brackets. For this reason, I see absolutely no reason not to give this show five stars. If you’re looking for a genuinely light, fun night out that will really lift your spirits, you could do far worse.

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