2016 Pinafore

This version adapted by James Fortune
Lyrics by W. S. Gilbert 
Music by Arthur Sullivan

at the Epsom Playhouse
Spring 2016

Director - James Fortune
Music Director - David Edwards
Choreographer - Amy Astley

Main Characters

The Rt. Hon. Sir Joseph Porter, K.C.B: Chris Evans
Captain Corcoran: Nic Ash
Little Buttercup: Lisa Scott
Ralph Rackstraw: James Turnbull
Josephine: Honey Rouhani
Dick Deadeye: Dilip Patel
Cousin Hebe: Charlie Hoddell
Boatswain: Chris Haslett
Boatswain's Mate: Len Martin
Midshipmite: Emily Evans
Naughty Sailors: Helen Ash, Daniel Crego-Bustelo
A Marine: Alex Land
Wisteria: Jacky Cook
Cousin Crumpet: Johnny Campbell-Slaughter


Anthony Black, Charlie Blencowe, Rowan Brearley, Simon Ferrier, John Hayman-Joyce, Rick Thompsett, Russell Thompson, Harry Wilkinson

Sisters, Neices, Cousins and Aunts

Shadi Asadollahi, Kat Callow, Penny Hanham, Jill Howlett, Jo Jones, Louise Laithwaite, Julie Parker, Linda Sutch, Helen Trenaman, Charlotte Thompson, Jan Wallis, Sandra Zeffman

The Drunken Tappers

Kat Callow, Johnny Campbell-Slaughter, Emily Evans, Simon Ferrier, Jo Jones, Charlotte Thompson

Show Synopsis

HMS PINAFORE SYNOPSIS: The action takes place on the Quarterdeck of "H.M.S. Pinafore"

The Pinafore, a "saucy" beauty of a ship in Her Majesty's navy, is anchored in the harbour at Portsmouth. Its proud sailors are busy scrubbing the decks for the expected arrival of Sir Joseph Porter, K.C.B., Britain's First Lord of the Admiralty. "Little Buttercup", a bumboat woman comes aboard to sell to the sailors her stock of "snuff and tobaccy but none of it's wacky" and other luxuries. A handsome seaman, Ralph, tells his messmates that he is in love with the Captain's daughter, Josephine. Dick Deadeye, the embodiment of the ugly truth, reminds the starry-eyed mariner that Captain's daughters don't marry 'common' sailors! The Captain arrives to inspect his crew and tells them that he never uses foul language and is never sick at sea...well, "hardly ever."

Josephine is sought in marriage by Sir Joseph, but it seems that she has no enthusiasm for a union with the cabinet minister - secretly, she is in love with Ralph. It also seems that Little Buttercup has a romantic interest in the Captain and harbours a secret about Ralph!

Finally, Sir Joseph arrives, attended by his many "sisters, cousins and aunts," among whom is his loyal but jealous Cousin Hebe. He explains that he rose to the top post in the Navy by sticking close to his desk and never going to sea. He also encourages the Captain to request that his sailors follow an order with the phrase "if you please." After all, his Lordship notes, "a British sailor is any man's equal." Indeed, he presents the crew with a song that he himself has composed to encourage "independence of thought and action in the lower branches" of the Navy. Sir Joseph and the Captain retire to discuss the proposed marriage.

Ralph finds Josephine alone on deck and declares his love for her and his willingness to try to fit in with middle- class society. She rejects his proffered love, although his simple eloquence goes to her heart. She is a dutiful daughter and cannot forget the disparity in their ranks. But when Ralph threatens suicide, the lady relents and declares her love for him. With the crew and the relatives assisting, the lovers plot to elope that very night. Dick Deadeye warns the pair of the impropriety of their plan, but he is thrown off the ship.

ACT TWO - Night
Captain Corcoran is alone on deck with his mandolin and sings to the moon of his troubles. Little Buttercup comes to him and reveals her affection. He tells her that because of his rank he can never be more to her than a friend; but she hints darkly that a change is in store for him, and "things are seldom what they seem."
Sir Joseph returns, complaining that Josephine does not favour his suit. The Captain comforts him by theorising that she is dazzled by his lofty station and suggests that he plead his cause on the ground that "love levels all ranks". When Josephine hears this argument, she considers how eloquently Sir Joseph has stated the justification for her to marry Ralph!

Dick Deadeye finds the Captain alone and reveals the planned elopement. He and the Captain lie in wait for the crew. The Captain confronts the elopers and is so exasperated that he actually swears a foul oath, "Damme!", which is overheard by Sir Joseph. Judging first and asking questions later, Sir Joseph orders the Captain to go to his cabin for this "ill-advised asperity."

Upon inquiry, Sir Joseph finds out that Ralph and Josephine love one another and orders the "presumptuous" sailor to the brig. Affairs are interrupted by Little Buttercup, who discloses her long-concealed secret: as their foster mother, she had exchanged the Captain and Ralph while they were both babies. By accident, of course. Sir Joseph immediately sends for Ralph (who is now Captain) and the Captain (who is now a 'common sailor'). Since it is "out of the question" for Sir Joseph to marry the daughter of a mere sailor, his Lordship nobly consents to the marriage of Ralph and Josephine. The former Captain is now free to marry dear Little Buttercup, and Sir Joseph agrees to marry his long-time admirer, cousin Hebe. All ends with "joy and rapture unforeseen," for "he is an Englishman!"


James has writing and directing all his life including feature films both in Europe and Hollywood such as 'Olympus
Force' starring Christopher Lee. Shows in the West End include 'Prisoner Cell Block H' starring Lily Savage, 'Stand By Me' and 'Troubadour'. On television, James wrote and directed 'To Be Perfectly Frank' starring Michael Crawford and many commercials and fashion shows. He has previously directed 3 shows for ELOC, 2 of which - 'Witches of Eastwick' and 'Titanic - the Muscial' - won the coveted NODA Award for Excellence. 'Parade' was also very well received. James is a Member of the Inner Magic Circle with Gold Star, one of only 200 in the world, and is a 4 times Surrey Magic Champion.

Music is an important part of David's life, having been MD in the past for Cheam Operatic Society and Banstead and Nork Operatic. Until recently, he was Director of Music for a Parish Church, a position he held for 27 years. Before retirement, he was Head of Music in a primary school in Merton and directed many of the borough's music festivals. He is now fully retired and enjoys his hobbies of photography and computing. As well as being an MD, David has 'trod the boards' with different amateur companies in the south of London. However, his greatest honour was to sing in the choir at the wedding of Prince Charles to Princess Diana. David would like to thank ELOC for inviting him back as MD for this show.


Amy is from Bristol, where she began ballet at the age of 3. She then moved on to train at Laine Theatre Arts in Epsom, where she graduated in 2009 with a Trinity Diploma in Musical Theatre. Since then she has performed in many styles of theatre, from opera to Shakespeare, including 'Follies', 'A Little Night Music', 'Hamlet', 'A Christmas Carol' and 'Sweeney Todd'. Amy has taught and choreographed for many different performing arts schools, including Guildford School of Acting and PPA. Amy is the Associate Director of Apollo Theatre Company, a professional theatre company based in Guildford. Amy is delighted to be working with ELOC again after choreographing their 2014 production of 'Die Fledermaus'.

Chris has been involved in amateur theatre for most of his life and has played many parts during his illustrious 'thespian' career ranging from leading man to pantomime dame! Having previously played 'The Captain', this time round he is portraying the part of Sir Joseph Porter KCB, (the leader of the Queen's Navee) - a pretentious, self-important and bombastic character who likes to patronise those of a 'lower station'. He is very proud to be President, and a founder member, of such a talented group which celebrates its 30th birthday this year.
Nic has worked with choirs and theatre companies in the area for many years. A former 'gentleman' of the Chapel Royal at Hampton Court Palace, he has been privileged to sing in many cathedrals around the country (13 at last count). Nic has appeared in nearly 30 shows during 23 years with ELOC and has directed a number of its productions, most recently 'Half a Sixpence' in 2012. Nic's first love of musical theatre was G & S and he has over the years been fortunate to play a number of principal G & S roles; he is pleased to have the chance to add Captain Corcoran to this list, and to be master of his own ship this time!
Lisa has enjoyed performing in shows with ELOC and other local companies for more years than she cares to admit! Her favourite roles include Alex in 'The Witches of Eastwick', Mrs Lovett in 'Sweeney Todd', Reno in 'Anything Goes', Sally in 'Me and My Girl', Velma in 'Chicago', Guinevere in 'Camelot', Witch in 'Into the Woods', Aldonza in 'Man of La Mancha', Myra in 'Hot Flush the Musical', Alice in 'Titanic the Musical', Maria in 'Lend me a Tenor' and Maria in 'The Sound of Music'. More recently, Lisa has taken up directing and she is looking forward to working with ELOC to direct 'Singing In The Rain' in spring 2017.
James has been treading the boards now for over 40 years and still enjoys every minute of it. He has performed in over 60 shows with many societies including Epsom Players, BROS, Leatherhead Operatic, and ELOC. 'HMS Pinafore' is his 7th show with ELOC, where previous roles have included Nanki-Poo in 'Hot Mikado', Bill Snibson in 'Me And My Girl', and Curly in 'Oklahoma'. He feels very fortunate to have played some cracking roles in the past including Mr Snow in 'Carousel', Action in 'West Side Story', Fagin in 'Oliver' and his favourite of all time, the lovely Judas in 'Jesus Christ Superstar'! A lot of baddies you'll note!!
Lyric-Coloratura Soprano Honey Rouhani graduated from the Trinity College of Music with a merit in Vocal (Opera) Studies, as a scholar supported by the Leverhulme trust studying with Alison Wells. Honey recently made her debut with the Dulwich Opera singing Musetta in Puccini's La bohème and the premier of Babak Kazemi's 'Ode to Peace' at the Cadogan Hall. Honey appears in many operas around the country and gives recitals in many venues in the UK, Europe and the US. Honey is delighted to be back with ELOC, and hopes you enjoy the show.
Dilip has been performing shows with ELOC for some 17 years and is glad that he still has a day time job, his family even more so! Playing the character of Dick Deadeye, a person with no social boundaries, has been interesting and challenging but great fun. Most enjoyable roles to date include Pooh Bah in 'Hot Mikado', Ching Ho in 'Thoroughly Modern Millie', Daddy Brubeck in 'Sweet Charity', Ismay in 'Titanic - the Musical' and Mikado in 'The Mikado. Dilip hopes you enjoy the show tonight!
Charlie joined ELOC at the turn of the millennia and has performed, worked backstage, costumed, directed and been on its committee ever since. She has designed and directed 4 popular, "Belles" revues for ELOC as well as directing 'Orpheus in the Underworld' and 'Lend Me A Tenor'. Her favourite roles have included Katisha in 'Hot Mikado', Bloody Mary in 'South Pacific' and Joanne in 'Company'. Charlie works at Ewell Castle School, where, as well as teaching Maths, she directs the annual school musical staged at the Epsom Playhouse.
This is Chris's 17th show with ELOC and Gilbert & Sullivan always seems to "bring out the best" in him. In fact, all of his significant principal roles have been in G&S operettas, including Luiz and Giuseppe in 'The Gondoliers', 1st Yeoman in 'Yeomen of the Guard', and Pish-Tush in 'The Mikado'. HMS Pinafore is the only "big six" G&S operetta that he has never previously performed in, which makes playing this part doubly satisfying! When not performing or rehearsing with ELOC, Chris spends a lot of time with his family which includes 7 grandchildren. He notes with great pleasure evidence of musical talent in the young family members.
Len entered musical theatre rather late in life. However, he is no stranger to performing, having played in bands both professionally and semi-pro since his teens. His first ELOC show was 'Half a Sixpence' in 2012. Since then he has appeared in four other productions, in supporting roles. 'HMS Pinafore' will give him the opportunity to wear a sailors' uniform for the first time since his 10 year enrolment as a Sea Cadet, back in his youth. During that time, he fondly remembers being solo drummer at The Royal Tournament. Len runs his own small company in the engineering sector.
Emily's recent roles have included the Japanese geisha Yum Yum in 'The Mikado', the cockney Ann in 'Half A Sixpence' and the Irish 3rd class passenger Kate in 'Titanic – The Musical', and this time she is excited to be playing a tom-boy sailor! She is pleased to be supported by such a great, talented cast and production team and would like to thank all those who made it possible to put this show on tonight, and also the audience who have come to support. Emily has enjoyed the challenge of learning the music of this classic Gilbert & Sullivan operetta, and hopes you equally enjoy listening to these wonderful songs tonight.
This is Dan's 5th show with ELOC, with his last role being Perchik in 'Fiddler on the Roof' last autumn. Dan is currently studying automotive engineering at Coventry University. Helen has been a member of ELOC since 2008, with her most notable role to date being Villager 4, also in ELOC's 'Fiddler on the Roof'. Helen studied fashion at UCA Epsom, and now works in buying at Phase Eight Head Office. Dan and Helen have both enjoyed rehearsals thoroughly, and feel that the 'naughty' behaviour has come rather naturally!


Dress Rehearsal Photos - By Charlotte Thompson

Photos from the HMS Pinafore Dress Rehearsal are available for viewing - click here

"I saw D'Oyly Carte do it at the Savoy and yours was better because of the extra gags, songs and of course, Rule Britannia at the end. Superb." "The voices were beautiful and the set, lighting and staging was first class." "Well done everyone for such a great show last night. It was truly funny and I am sooo glad I made a last minute decision to come and watch. V worth it"
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NODA Review - By Jon Fox
Reviewed on Wednesday 13th April 2016

Having performed in and directed over 100 Gilbert and Sullivan shows including this one, I know the repertoire rather well. To be honest, HMS Pinafore is not even among my top ten as I find the plot unconvincing and the humour forced in places. I therefore took my seat with a heavy heart to review this show - and then Damascus!! All those stodgy D'Oyle Carte productions and tedious amateur ones including many in which I have appeared - Gone!! Just like that.

The "magical" director James Fortune - a member of the Inner magic Circle - sprinkled a ship load of magic dust all over this seminal production. It was, in essence, a new show with some familiar characters and melodies, and I simply loved it! WS Gilbert was the most topical of writers and men ..... "No telephone communicates with his cell" (1878). But Gilbert was soon to install the new telephone in his home and in the Savoy Theatre, so what better than a "cell" phone in this age of technology. "Rafe" became "Ralph" (except to Dick Deadeye) and then, upon his demotion, back to "Rafe" again. Hebe became a Lady Jane type ("Patience") complete with several "crushed" and "crushed again". This much enlarged part was forcefully played by Charlie Hoddell and was hugely enoyable.

There was a running gag where Sir Joseph called Captain Corcoran every name under the sun beginning with "C" save the correct one. Around 15% of all the dialogue was not from Gilbert, but was instead modernised, usually humourously. Two sailors were drummed upon stage before the show properly began to sing an amusing ditty asking the audience to turn off their 'phones. There was ships rigging in the balcony of the theatre where we first observed Ralph Rackstraw, who was sensibly cast a little older than usual to look at least closer to the captain's age. This age problem is to my mind an obstacle HMS Pinafore can never truly overcome.

The essential class system plot was faithfully maintained however, despite Sir Joseph letting his hair down and throwing bottles / glasses in the "Never mind ...." trio, together with Josephine and Captain "Corkscrew". These were neatly caught by the attentive crew. All G&S operas are of their time, but to survive in the modern world and, crucially, to attract younger people both in cast and audiences, they must be relevant to today's world. I loved the two naughty sailors, Helen Ash and Daniel Crego-Bustelo. They had attitude aplenty and revelled in it.

We were treated to a professional singer playing Josephine. The beautiful tones of Honey Rouhani lit up the stage, acting and flirting deliciously. A rare treat!

Little Buttercup - Lisa Scott - was larger than life, charismatically and sympathetically played. Nic Ash as Captain Corcoran, Corkscrew, Cauliflower etc. became Captain "Cor blimey" upon his demotion and was a marvellous foil to the madcap Sir Joseph of Chris Evans. Chris had much of the humour in this version, including wonderful non-Gilbertian lines. He appeared on deck wearing a pink rubber ring and dominated the stage throughout.

James Turnbull was another top quality performer as Ralph Rackstraw. His duet "Refrain audatious Tar" with Josephine was special, as was his speech ending "I hope I make myself clear, lady" .

Dilip Patel was the villain Dick Deadeye, appearing "magically" downstage left and whispering urgently to the captain. Dilip was one of the best Deadeye's I have seen, which are many in number. He sang his song from Princess Ida brilliantly - a most "disagreeable man". This is said to be based upon W.S. Gilbert himself who, though he was certainly often disagreeable, not least to Richard D'Oyly Carte himself, was much loved by his company for his many kindnesses to the chorus. History has slightly misrepresented Gilbert as a person.

Chris Haslett was a fine boatswain, singing his song "He is an Englishman" with fervour. Len Martin also did well as his Mate. Emily Evans was entirely typical of this sparkling production as a winning Midshipmite.

The chorus were fully supportive of these special principals, dancing energetically with some excellent costumes by Costume Workshop, who supply the Harrogate Festival. I particularly liked the Drunken Tappers.

Yet another innovation was the sound and lighting effects when the Captain was being taught to dance a hornpipe on his table by Sir Joseph. The Ruddigore patter trio worked well too and all three parts could be heard. The singing throughout the whole show was of top order!!

The band under the sure command of Musical Director David Edwards was always supportive, never overpowering the singing, giving full vent to Sullivan's genius. It also had the required pace - many amateur companies take G&S too slowly, spoiling the beauty - not so here, thanks goodness.

Choreographer Amy Astley had clearly driven a dedicated company into giving their very best in her sparkling dance routines. The company movements were crisp and polished. The "Catherine Wheel" sailor effect was superbly carried out.

A special mention must be made of the superb set, one of the best I have ever seen on the amateur stage. The ship was entirely realistic looking, though the programme credited no-one especially responsible. Whoever designed it and built it deserves great credit. Perhaps it was brought in from a professional set hire company?

The evening ended with the superb Josephine, Buttercup and Hebe leading the whole company in "Rule Brittania". Rule ELOC would be more appropriate.