The performance was largely a delight, the attendance dismal. A new concert version of the darkest of the Gilbert and Sullivan light operas deserved better.
The score has been tidied up by Colin Jagger, director of music at the University of Portsmouth, after studying original sources, and to replace spoken dialogue he devised a narration that was spoken by ex-chancellor Sheila Hancock with unfussy clarity.
Jagger also conducted a reinforced Havant Symphony Orchestra, playing out of its collective skin, the Portsmouth Chorus and soloists from the Royal College of Music.
The most effective of them injected colour and movement into their performing rather than being content to stand and deliver with eyes on the score.
Outstanding was Mark Nathan in the key role of Jack Point, both in jesting and in grieving reprise of ‘I have a song to sing, O’ after he loses his girl (a charming Rowan Pierce).
And Peter Kirk brought excellent vocal and dramatic ardour to Fairfax, third person in the love triangle.