Words by W.S. Gilbert and Music by Arthur Sullivan
The Guildhall,
April 1952
Cast List
Sir Joseph Porter
Captain Corcoran
Ralph Rackstraw
Dick Deadeye
Bill Bobstay
Bob Becket
Little Buttercup

Notes on this performance

25. Cox and Box & HMS Pinafore

Tom Judd’s fan club…

After years of having their show recommendations turned down by the members at the AGM, the Committee hit upon the idea of deciding the next show and then announcing their decision and it nearly worked! Ruddigore was chosen but soon after Alfred Tomalin decreed that ‘there would be insufficient time to rehearse Ruddigore to a satisfactory standard’ so HMS Pinafore with Cox and Box was selected instead.

To save time, it was thought wise to let the directing team (again Messrs Tomalin and Williams) cast Cox and Box without holding auditions and Bernard Harman (Cox), Sydney Egerton (Box) and Bruce Ellery (Bouncer) were duly chosen. Scores for both shows were purchased by the Society and then sold onto the company. It was also decided to buy a recording instrument for 57 and a half guineas to assist at rehearsals – it would then be available for other societies to hire at one guinea (£1.05) a night, once it had been insured against fire and theft.

The Social Committee still arranged trips to see other productions, this year’s outings involved The Vagabond King (SMS), Princess Ida (WOS) and Ruddigore (D’Oyly Carte Company) – two whist drives, a Christmas party and an end of season social were also undertaken. The Committee also relented on the cut backs imposed for Patience and reinstated the free refreshments of coffee and biscuits for the cast, helpers and orchestra during the interval but it was added that, ‘as the annual subscription had not increased, it would be expected that in future the cast would at least make a contribution towards the cost of these refreshments’.

It would appear that the Echo reviewer had run out of original things to say about the Society's shows, so he praised the performers and then renewed his admiration of Tom Judd: 'Few provincial societies can beat the standard of the chorus work, and one or two of the principals would be welcome in professional productions of these operas. It must be almost embarrassing to Tom Judd for me to repeat that he holds the centre of the stage in every way. He has the Savoy touch. His clarity of diction, both in speech and song is something that many of his fellow principals would do well to copy. Marjorie Kennedy's Little Buttercup was another excellent piece of work, well in the Savoy tradition, but she was not too well treated by the maker-up last night. However, that did not dim a fine performance. Winifred Barrett made a vivacious Josephine, with singing her strong point, Ian Sellers, as Ralph Rackstraw, displayed a tenor voice of fine quality, but as with several of the principals, the spoken word did not have anything like the weight and authority of the sung. They should listen to the way Tom Judd does it.'

The show sold better than its predecessor, making a profit of £130 4s 6d (£130.23) and from the proceeds £100 was shared between St John’s Ambulance Brigade, Southampton Sea Cadets, the British Cancer Fund, the Blind Welfare Fund and the British Association for the Limbless. Since its reformation as SAOS, the Society had donated an impressive £1008 to various charities.

Terry O'Farrell

Photo of Trio

Winifred Barrett (Josephine), Tom Judd (Sir Joseph Porter), Clifford Dunkley (Captain Corcoran)