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2 June 1878

The new work by Messrs. Sullivan and Gilbert is a fanciful and amusing one. The story, as told by the latter, hinges upon the love of Josephine, daughter of the captain of the Pinafore, for one of its common seamen, Ralph Rackstraw. The gallant officer is highly indignant at this, and insists on the girl at once giving up her fancy. But, on her lover declaring he will commit suicide, she changes her mind, and plans an elopement. One Dick Deadeye, a very dismal person, remonstrates with her parent, who forthwith breaks out into such strong language as to incur the rebuke of Sir Joseph Porter, First Lord of the Admiralty, and once errand boy to a lawyer. He has written a song that the sailors learn the burthen of, and which is evidently intended to parody the Jingo music-hall effusions, and runs thus: —

"He might have been a Roosian,
A French or Turk, or Proosian,
  Or perhaps Itali-an,
But; in spite of all temptations
To belong to other nations,
  He remains an Englishman."

Matters are becoming serious, when a certain Portsmouth bumboat woman appears on the scene, and reveals the fact that at one period she was a baby-farmer, and that Ralph Rackstraw and Captain Corcoran when confided to her care were changed, and the one has consequently usurped the position of the other. Thereupon Ralph weds Josephine, the Captain espouses the bumboat woman, and the First Lord is also provided with a wife.

The piece abounds in funny, witty, and sharp sayings. The music is light, tuneful, and admirably adapted to the humorous style of the writing.

It is altogether well played, Mr. G. Grossmith, as the First Lord, being completely in his element and revelling in the fun of the situation. Mr. Barrington is equally good as the Captain, and in Mr. Temple Dick Deadeye has a capital representative, and Mr. Power plays Ralph. Miss Everard's bumboat woman is a clever, farcical performance and amuses the audience amazingly. Miss Howson, a debutante, made a most favourable impression as Josephine. The piece may be pronounced entirely successful and an excellent substitute for "The Sorcerer."


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