If you missed out on the zany Gilbert and Sullivan action when it played at the Guthrie Theater earlier this year, or want to revisit David Bolger snappy, Ivey-Award-winning choreography, or just want to enjoy a theatrical piece without a theater critic coughing incessantly behind you, then check out the first part of PBS's Arts Fall Festival Friday, when the Guthrie's H.M.S. Pinafore is broadcast.
The piece is the first of nine specials originating from across the country. The Guthrie joins the likes of the San Francisco Ballet, the Los Angeles Opera, the Miami City Ballet, along with Andrea Bocelli's Live in Central Park, and a broadcast of Cameron Crowe's Pearl Jam documentary, Twenty.
The event is important for the Guthrie as it allows them to reach a national audience, notes Quinton Skinner, the theater's public relations director (and my predecessor here at City Pages). He added that it shows that public TV is still dedicated to arts programming, which has long been one of the anchors of the network.
While only clips of Pinafore were available to view, care has been taken to bridge the gap between an onstage and cinematic experience. In other words, the camera work does bring the viewer into the action, allowing us to get a better look at Fabio Toblini's bright and colorful costumes and Frank Hallinan Flood's equally clever stage design. And Bogler's choreography is really the star of the show, bright, playful, and over the top.
The Guthrie's version gives the music a bit of an update, sounding as much like "Gilbert and Sullivan go to the disco" as a traditional operetta, and local playwright Jeffrey Hatcher has gussied up the action with some original material. The whole Joe Dowling-directed production, as I check out my original review, reminded me as much of Benny Hill as a Victorian comedy, and while the music may be better mixed, the rock-sounding score still grates on my ears.
H.M.S. Pinafore will be broadcast at 8 p.m. Friday and other times through the weekend on tpt channel 2,