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Comical 'Pinafore' a delightful winner

Light opera touts some of the nicest voices in Utah County

Left to right: Robinne Booth as Buttercup and Lyle Mortimer as Capt. Corcoran; Lauralyn Curtis as Josephine and Juan Pereira as Ralph; Neil Whitaker as Sir Joseph and Nannette Wiggins as Hebe star in "Pinafore."
Left to right: Robinne Booth as Buttercup and Lyle Mortimer as Capt. Corcoran; Lauralyn Curtis as Josephine and Juan Pereira as Ralph; Neil Whitaker as Sir Joseph and Nannette Wiggins as Hebe star in "Pinafore."
Mark Philbrick

HMS PINAFORE; SCERA Center for the Arts, 745 S. State; through Nov. 2; 225-2569; running time: two hours (one 15-minute intermission).

OREM — The HMS Pinafore is docked for a few more days at the SCERA and Her Majesty would be proud of her crew.

This popular light opera is presented by the Utah Lyric Opera Society and touts some of the nicest voices in Utah County. The story is simple and predictable but carries a lot of comedy and guffaws.

Principle characters include Josephine (Lauralyn Curtis), Ralph (Juan Pereira), Sir Joseph Porter (Neil Whitaker), Capt. Corcoran (Lyle Mortimer), Dick Deadeye (Derrold Dee Harris), Buttercup (Robinne Booth), Hebe (Nannette Wiggins), Carpenter's Mate (Ben Wake) and Boastwain's Mate (Robert Anderson). Double-cast members include: Sara Thomas (Josephine), Michael Jensen (Ralph) and David Sovine (Sir Joseph).

In short, the story goes something like this: The daughter of the captain is betrothed to Sir Joseph, but her heart belongs to Ralph, a ship's mate and a man below her class. Buttercup, a gypsy and merchant, has an eye for the captain, but she is below his class. The fun is in finding the remedy for their "condition."

The story line is carried off quite nicely with great performances by the leads. Curtis and Pereira have particularly lyrical voices and are quite easy to follow with their great facial expressions and body movements. Facial expressions are a great part of this comedy. Whitaker's wonderful rendition of Sir Joseph also includes some fancy and hilarious footwork and a bit of flamboyance.

If you're not an opera lover, you will still recognize music from this Gilbert and Sullivan script. They include: "I'm Called Little Buttercup," "When I was a Lad," "The Nightingale," and "A British Tar."

The chorus of 20 voices and the live orchestra of 25 musicians directed by Kerry Strauss add spice to the production. A convenient addition is the small overhead screen projecting the words being sung.

The costuming is colorful, but not overdone and the set gives the feel the audience is a part of the Pinafore crew. However, a larger Union Jack should be flying on the mast.

If you need a date, consider this one.

Sensitivity rating: Younger children may find this confusing and boring. Try 10-12 years and up.


E-mail: pugmire@desnews.com