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Orchestra highlights G&S PLayers' HMS Pinafore

H.M.S. PINAFORE

The MIT Gilbert & Sullivan Players.

Conducted by Steven McDonald.

Directed by Joseph Bowen.

Room 54-100, Nov. 9-11 and 16-18.

By JONATHAN RICHMOND

AS USUAL, the MIT Gilbert & Sullivan Players have provided a good evening of entertainment, even if it is not consistently wonderful. The undoubted star on this occasion is the orchestra, under the able stewardship of Steven McDonald. Strings may have on occasion sounded thin, but all sections were colorfully expressive, and the rhythms were full of oomph for the most magnetic of Sullivan's full-blooded melodies.

The best singing and acting comes from Tom Andrews as the most wicked of Dick Deadeyes. His words were articulated with clarity and bite, and his movement and gestures were larger than life. Very nasty! Very funny!

David Harrison does a competent job of Captain Corcoran, quite funny at times: His delivery of "I am the Captain of the Pinafore" was slick, and every word could be heard. The singing of Tim Ford -- as Sir Joseph Porter -- was often weak, however, even if some of his acting during Act II was evocative and amusing. "When I was a Lad," fell flat; "My Pain and my Distress" was much better, though, and Ford was at his best in spoken dialogue.

Rita Fisler, as Josephine, had some good numbers, and showed some real emotions. Kristin E. Hughes was possibly slightly too refined as Little Buttercup, but her singing was spritely -- if not always musically accurate -- and her stage presence strong. Jim Hunt nicely played the part of the love-lost Ralph Rackstraw, singing zestily and with plenty of feeling, too.

The chorus was strong and sang with a good swing and even -- during a brief Act II passage in a serious vein -- with pathos. The show may have started a bit slow, but by the second act it had picked up speed and captured the audience's attention. H.M.S. Pinafore is worth seeing.