TRIAL BY JURY
Like many of Gilbert and Sullivan's operettas, "Trial By Jury"
is a satire; the object of their ridicule this time being the British
Judicial system. When a breach of promise case is brought by the plaintiff,
Angelina, against the defendant, Edwin, the jury - and the Judge - swayed
by her beauty, immediately decide on her innocence and his guilt, despite
the Usher's formal declaration that "From bias free of ev'ry kind
this trial must be tried". The jurymen go so far as to offer to marry
the maid themselves, but are beaten to the post by none other than the
wily old Judge!
Another satire, but this time the object of ridicule is the Royal Navy,
and specifically the Admiralty. Its First Lord, Sir Joseph Porter, admits
that the route to eminence is anything but nautical and is best achieved
via the office stool. As the opera begins, Sir Joseph is about to visit
"H.M.S. Pinafore", in order to claim as his bride, Josephine,
Captain Corcoran's daughter. Little does he know that she is secretly
in love with a foremast hand, Ralph Rackstraw, far beneath her station.
At last she openly accepts the seaman's profession of love and plans an
elopement, aided by the crew.
However, in Act II, the dastardly Dick Deadeye, as twisted in mind as
in body, informs on them to the Captain, and Ralph is flung into a dungeon,
at Sir Joseph's command. All is not lost, for Mrs. Cripps (better known
as Buttercup) reveals that while officiating at a baby farm 'So many years
ago', she switched the babies known to us now as Ralph Rackstraw and Captain
Corcoran. It would now appear that Ralph was nobly born, so Josephine
and he can marry with her father's blessing, especially as her humble
origin makes her unfit for Sir Joseph. With Ralph as the new Captain,
Corcoran becomes a common sailor; but bliss awaits him, as you will see,
as, indeed, it does for Sir Joseph -in a fashion!