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3 February 1879

OPERA COMIQUE

This theatre was reopened on Saturday evening after a brief recess, during which the interior has been completely and handsomely renovated – an operation of which, as must be confessed, it stood greatly in need. No alteration, however, has been deemed necessary in the programme which was lately in force, and the entertainment still consists of light musical works, Messrs. Gilbert and Sullivan’s nautical comic opera H.M.S. Pinafore, being the piece de resistance, with supplementary fare in the shape of Mr. George Grossmith, jun.’s sketch Cups and Saucers, and Messrs Frank Desprez and Alfred Cellier’s vaudeville, After All.

The Pinafore is at the height of its popularity, and the merry humours of Mr. Gilbert’s dramatic story, so faithfully reproduced in Mr. Sullivan’s tuneful, jovial strains, exert the same fascination as of yore. Captain Corcoran’s qualified statements that he “hardly ever” succumbs to sea-sickness, or “swears a big, big D.,” still create uproarious diversion; Sir Joseph Porter, K.C.B., continues to lord it over his subordinates as probably no First Lord of the Admiralty save himself ever did, since the institution of his order; and Ralf Rackstraw, aided by the invincible arguments of his messmate, Bill Bobstay, still lays the flattering unction to his soul that the fact of his remaining an Englishman is a sufficient offset against social presumptions.

Although the effects of our variable climate were observable in the singing of the principal vocalists, the audience, too well pleased with the music to be critical with its exponents, meted out applause with ready hands – Mr. Sullivan’s score undergoing, we are afraid to say how much extension, by reason of the frequent encores – some members being called for twice, and even three times. The cast remains as formerly, and, indeed, it is difficult to see how any alteration could be for the better with Mr. Barrington as Captain Corcoran, Mr. George Grossmith, jun., as the First Lord, Mr. George Power as Ralph, Mr. Temple as Dick Deadeye, Mr. Clifton as Bill Bobstay, Miss Everard as Little Buttercup, Miss Jessie Bond as the spokeswoman of Sir Joseph’s numerous female relatives, and Miss Emma Howson as Josephine. The choruses and finales are, as heretofore, capitally sung, and from first to last the opera goes with infinite spirit and briskness. It is easy to prophesy a continued and prosperous career for the present programme.


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