WHAT'S ON

Hayes Theatre Co presents Gilbert and Sullivan's HMS Pinafore at Cessnock Performing Arts Centre on March 7

Set sail with star-crossed lovers, mismatched marriages and mistaken identities when Gilbert & Sullivan's beloved comedy HMS Pinafore drops anchor at Cessnock Performing Arts Centre on Saturday, March 7.

Award-winning director Kate Gaul makes her Hayes Theatre Co debut with this re-imagined, gender-bending, hyper-theatrical and kinky take on the Gilbert & Sullivan classic.

This new production has been conceived with a reduced cast of lively men and women, with sequins, tutus, lots of flags, and a moustache or two.

Aboard the ship HMS Pinafore, the captain's daughter, Josephine, has fallen in love with a lowly sailor, Ralph Rackstraw, despite her father's plan to marry her to the First Lord of the Admiralty, Sir Joseph Porter.

As the lovers lament their predicament and plan their escape, a surprise disclosure from an unlikely quarter shows that not all is at it seems.

A nautical caper overflowing with infectious tunes such as I am the Monarch of the Sea, I'm Called Little Buttercup and He is an Englishman,HMS Pinafore is a sharp satire of the English social hierarchical system of the Victorian Age.

Its humour focuses on love between members of different social classes and pokes unashamed fun at society's obsession with social status, patriotism, party politics, and the rise of unqualified people to positions of authority - themes that are arguably as relevant today as they were when the operetta opened almost 150 years ago.

The Cessnock show is one of eight on a regional tour of New South Wales.

"This regional tour continues the tradition at Hayes of taking the best local musicals to new venues and exposing the work to a wider audience," Hayes Theatre Co general manager Will Harvey said.

"Thanks to the support of Create NSW and with the assistance of Arts on Tour, HMS Pinafore will now be seen by twice as many people - right across the state - as were able to see the first season.

"We're incredibly proud of this production and the talented cast and creative team who've made it possible. We think it's going to every bit as successful as it was here at Hayes."

Don't miss out on the hysterical hi-jinks on the high seas - tickets are on sale at the CPAC Box Office, by phone on 4993 4266 or online at cessnockperformingartscentre.com.au.

GIVEAWAY: For your chance to win a double pass to the show, email your name and phone number to mail@cessnockadvertiser.com.au with 'HMS Pinafore' in the subject line by 11.59pm Sunday, March 1. 

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