In essence, nothing much has changed. Babies are switched, passions can be troublesome, social mobility remains an issue and there’s always a whistleblower somewhere to spoil the fun. 

Gilbert’s witty verses remain as entertaining as when they first hit the London stage in 1878 and Sullivan’s music – pastiche Verdi, Lehar and Offenbach perhaps – is still delicious. 

What is different is the audience: now, they know  the lines, the stage business and the performance history. Woe betide those who take liberties.

The Eastbourne G & S Society hit almost exactly the right notes with  a Pinafore of boundless enthusiasm, enormous charm and a great deal of  skilful comedy.

Director Michael Bale manoeuvred Joseph Porter’s female relatives around the theatre, Nigel Lawton switched status convincingly and Christopher Peck made a fine figure of Ralph Rackstraw. 

Victoria Langley presented a fetching Josephine whilst Victoria Brown played Buttercup with pragmatic insouciance. 

As always, Pinafore needs a Laurel and Hardy Porter and Corcoran and they got it – Paul Eccles was simply hilarious as the over-promoted office clerk, his mobile face and form perfectly adapted to whatever nonsense he danced or sang.

Southern Youth Ballet danced excerpts from Pineapple Poll and the audience nodded, tapped and hummed.