HMS Pinafore at the Mary Rose Museum, Historic Dockyard

HMS Pinafore will be performed at the Mary Rose Museum.
HMS Pinafore will be performed at the Mary Rose Museum.
Lucie Jones and David Barrett in Legally Blonde. Picture by Robert Workman

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Portsmouth’s very own Opera Comique docks at the Mary Rose Museum on Saturday, June 13 for a special performance of Gilbert and Sullivan’s HMS Pinafore.

Formed in Portsmouth in 1976, Opera Comique consists of experienced Gilbert and Sullivan enthusiasts from across the south coast, all of whom are no strangers to the Historic Dockyard.

One of the greatest memories for me is when we performed HMS Pinafore on board TS Foudroyant. The audience had to go out there by boat.

Nigel Smith

The company have performed HMS Pinafore previously on board HMS Victory, HMS Warrior 1860 and TS Foudroyant before it relocated to Hartlepool.

Organiser Nigel Smith, explains what makes the show so special: ‘It is based in Portsmouth, and I suppose one of the greatest memories for me is when we performed it on board TS Foudroyant. The audience had to go out there by boat.

‘One of the best things about the play is its humour, and of course the music is very good.’

It certainly can’t be argued that the show is not popular, with HMS Pinafore enjoying the longest first run of all the Gilbert and Sullivan operas.

In fact when it was firstproduced in 1878, it boasted 700 performances at the original Opera Comique.

The story takes place aboard the ship HMS Pinafore where the captain’s daughter, Josephine, is in love with a lower-class sailor, Ralph Rackstraw.

The only snare is her father intends to marry her to Sir Joseph Porter, the First Lord of the Admiralty.

She abides by her father’s wishes at first, but Sir Joseph’s advocacy of the equality of humankind encourages Ralph and Josephine to overturn conventional social order.

They declare their love for each other and eventually plan to elope.

The captain discovers this plan, but, as in many of the Gilbert and Sullivan operas, a surprise disclosure changes things dramatically near the end of the story.

HMS Pinafore takes place at the Mary Rose Museum on Saturday, June 13.

Tickets: £8-15, doors open at 6.30pm, performance to begin at 7pm.