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4 August 1879

After contradictory decisions had been carefully arrived at by eminent judicial authorities on Friday, the now famous comic opera H.M.S. Pinafore was duly given at the Imperial Theatre. The vigour and determination with which the question as to who has the right of representing the opera is being fought between Messrs. Gilbert and Sullivan on one hand, and the directors of the Comedy Opera Company on the other, conclusively prove the value of the piece; and its reception at its new home left no doubt as to the estimation in which the Pinafore is publicly held.

The general representation lacked in some particulars the neatness which it would have acquired had the author superintended the rehearsals, but at the same time the new company is, on the whole, efficient, and the presence of a few members of the original chorus contributed much to the smoothness and effect. Mr. J. G. Taylor makes a welcome return to England in the character of Sir Joseph Porter, K.C.B. Mr. Percy Blandford appears with much success as the hero of the story, Ralph Rackstraw, and an excellent Josephine is forthcoming in Miss Mulholland. Though, so far as we know, a novice on the stage, Miss Mulholland is graceful and self-possessed, and her pleasant voice is well displayed in the tuneful music. The only fear is that the unaccustomed strain may be found too severe for an organ which, though not weak, is apparently delicate. Occasionally signs of fatigue were perceptible; but if Miss Mulholland can learn to husband her resources she will be a most valuable acquisition to the stage in such refined and humorous parts as have been supplied by, and may be expected from, Messrs. Gilbert and Sullivan. After Mr. Rutland Barrington's Captain the representation of that part by Mr. Dwyer seems to leave something wanting, but the new Commander of the Pinafore sang the serenade very well indeed, and gained an encore. Messrs. Rousbey and Fairweather gave satisfactory performances of Dick Deadeye and Bill Bobstay, though the latter does not manage to make enough of the song and chiefly the cadenza which emphasises the statement that "he is an Englishman." Miss Fanny Edwards makes a capital Little Buttercup, and of course the disposition of the stage and the business generally is, as nearly as circumstances permit, a reproduction of the Opera Comique version.


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