Scottish Opera pops up at Nevis Centre

The cast delight their audience from their mobile open air stage. Photograph: Iain Ferguson,

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The Nevis Centre is now open for business and recently hosted its first event since lockdown, with a performance by Scottish Opera – in the car park.

Two of Gilbert and Sullivan’s best-known and well-loved productions of HMS Pinafore and The Pirates of Penzance featured in the mini pop-up opera performed by a small cast of a storyteller, two singers, two instrumentalists – and a sumptuous set of specially created illustrations.

A total of 90 people formed the socially-distanced audiences for a spectacular afternoon of entertainment in the bright sunshine with 30-minute potted performances of the best tongue twisting tunes which are the trademarks of Gilbert and Sullivan.

In a novel twist, a narrator gave a brief outline of the plot in a cleverly written script explaining the characters and their relationships before they took their place centre stage.

A Little Bit of HMS Pinafore: Aboard the ship HMS Pinafore, Josephine, the captain’s daughter, is in love with one of the crew. Her father definitely doesn’t approve. Overturning social order and parental wishes alike, the couple plan to elope. But a surprise confession soon leaves everything in doubt…

A Little Bit of The Pirates of Penzance: A young man bound by an overactive sense of duty, a soft-hearted pirate king with a hopeless band of rogues at his side, a beautiful young girl, a very modern major-general and an ineffectual bevy of policemen add a plot hinging on the technicalities of having a birthday on February 29 … what could possibly go wrong?