This lighthearted and entertaining version of W.S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan’s work delighted audiences from beginning to end.

HMS Pinafore 3, courtesy of Francis Loney.jpg
The cast of H.M.S Pinafore. Photograph by Francis Loney. 

This wonderfully sharp and entertaining all-male production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s H.M.S Pinafore has plenty energy and humour to keep the audience entertained throughout – even if it goes occasionally over the top.

The opera takes place aboard the ship H.M.S. Pinafore, where the captain’s daughter Josephine is in love with lowly sailer Ralph Rackstraw, but her father intends her to marry Sir Joseph Porter, the first Lord of the Admiralty. But while Josephine intends to follow her father’s wishes, a sudden twist changes the story completely…

Sasha Regan’s production is extremely creative and inventive in the way in which the story is able to unfold. While it takes a while to get going, the wonderful choreography by Lizzi Gee is vibrant and exciting to watch, for example the physical exercise regime that the men participate in is particularly memorable and the performances by all of the cast help to lift the production even higher.

For a start Ben Irish’s performance as Josephine automatically brings a smile to your face, with his amazing vocals and exaggeration of movements that capture the spirit of the production as a whole. Also look out for an amazingly funny performance from Michael Burgen as Sir Joseph Porter and brings to mind the late and great Ronnie Corbett in his performance. Meanwhile, David McKechnie brings great dignity and energy as Little Buttercup.

Occasionally though it does all get a bit too over the top and chaotic, with some moments outstaying their welcome slightly – particularly towards the end of the show, getting to the point where it doesn’t feel as believable as it could.

Yet this shouldn’t distract from the joy that the audience feels every second of watching this and it is clear that the cast are having the time of their life performing it – which is just as important as anything else in this well presented production.

H.M.S Pinafore appears at the Hackney Empire until the 1st May, before continuing to tour across the country. For more information and to book tickets visit: