Opera della Luna's debut production of HMS Pinafore at the Theatre Royal, Bath, offers a delightful evening filled with humour, lively performances, and a few costume quirks.

Packed with toe-tapping tunes including For He Is An Englishman, I’m Called Little Buttercup and I’m the Monarch of the Sea, the wit and verve of HMS Pinafore is the perfect showcase for the talents of Opera della Luna, one of the UK’s leading exponents of operetta and comic music-theatre.

Set in Portsmouth Harbour aboard the HMS Pinafore, Gilbert and Sullivan’s hilarious tale of love, double standards and mistaken identity unravels when Captain Corcoran’s daughter secretly falls in love with a common sailor, Ralph Rackstraw.

Pledged by her father to marry the First Lord of the Admiralty, Sir Joseph Porter, Josephine finds herself hopelessly torn between love and duty.

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: HMS Pinafore: Martin George as Bill Bobstay the Bosun.HMS Pinafore: Martin George as Bill Bobstay the Bosun. (Image: Charles Smith)

Meanwhile, in a remarkable twist of fate, Little Buttercup boards the ship to sell her wares to the good-natured crew, guarding a long-held secret that could change everything.

A cast of eight perform all the roles, accompanied by a small but perfectly formed chamber musical ensemble. Opera della Luna has never been daunted by a little cross-dressing, and a few delicately-faced sailors can be seen in the crew, whilst Sir Joseph Porter’s elderly aunt has some surprisingly fearsome features.

Opera della Luna’s crew of exceedingly fine singers are Paul Featherstone as Sir Joseph Porter, Matthew Siveter as Captain Corcoran, Martin George as Bill Bobstay the Bosun, John Lofthouse as Dick Deadeye and Sir Joseph’s Aunt, Lawrence Olsworth-Peter as Ralph Rackstraw, Louise Crane as Little Buttercup and Sir Joseph’s Sister, Georgina Stalbow as Josephine and Lynsey Docherty as Cousin Hebe.

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: HMS Pinafore: Matthew Siveter as Captain Corcoran and Louise Crane as Sir Joseph Porter's sister.HMS Pinafore: Matthew Siveter as Captain Corcoran and Louise Crane as Sir Joseph Porter's sister. (Image: Charles Smith)

HMS Pinafore was W.S. Gilbert and Sir Arthur Sullivan’s first big success, making them internationally famous. It is also one of Opera della Luna’s most successful productions and has been seen all over the world

Louise Crane, taking on the dual roles of Little Buttercup, a Portsmouth bumboat woman, and Sir Joseph Porter's sister, showcased her versatility with convincing performances that added depth to the characters.

Martin George's portrayal of Bill Bobstay brought a sense of humour to the stage, setting the tone for the comedic elements of the production.

Lawrence Olsworth-Peters, as love-struck Ralph Rackstraw, delivered a noteworthy performance as the ‘Jack Tar’ able seaman caught in a romantic entanglement with the Captain’s daughter.

His strong stage presence and vocal prowess contributed to the production's success, while Georgina Stalbow provided an engaging stage presence as Captain Corcoran’s daughter, Josephine.

John Lofthouse, playing dual roles as the less able seaman Dick Deadeye and Sir Joseph's aunt, added a touch of eccentricity to the ensemble, embracing the farcical nature of Gilbert and Sullivan's work.

The real stand-out performance of the evening came in the form of Paul Featherstone as Sir Joseph Porter KCB, First Lord of the Admiralty, who has also expressed a romantic interest in Josephine despite his advancing years.

The dance scene in the second half, alongside Matthew Siveter as Captain Corcoran, choreographed by Jenny Arnold, was executed to perfection, with Featherstone's performance demonstrating a perfect blend of physical comedy and theatrical finesse.

His undeniable talent for comedy made for an unforgettable experience and he literally stole the show, with his charismatic and comedic portrayal adding a layer of brilliance to the production.

Jeff Clark's direction brought a new perspective to the classic operetta, and Michael Waldron's musical direction and piano accompaniment added a vibrant and dynamic musical backdrop to the production.

Nigel Howard's costume designs, for the most part, were delightful and added to the visual appeal of the performance.

HMS Pinafore appears at the Theatre Royal Bath to Saturday, January 27. To book tickets call the Theatre Royal Bath Box Office on 01225 448844 or visit www.theatreroyal.org.uk