The Pirates of Penzance

What I have always loved about Gilbert and Sullivan musicals is the tongue-in-cheek, ‘taking the mick’ style that is elemental to their popularity. Happy Go Lucky G&S fulfilled the task excellently to deliver a jovial and fresh production of the Pirates of Penzance. It was witty and ridiculous, with just a smattering of newcomer errors that they will hopefully learn from.Pirates of Penzance follows our young protagonist Frederic, who swore himself to the pirate band when he was a child and is finally of age to be freed from ‘his indentures’. In turn he has promised to rid the coast of all pirates and live a honest life. All this is comically and amicably agreed between himself and the Pirate King. Abandoned on the coast he meets young ladies for the first time and immediately falls in love, but the Pirates who are stalking the coast also strike upon the maidens. They are saved by the white lie of Major General Stanley, because these pirates do not prey on orphans, being orphans themselves.As with any G&S production, the plot is highly convoluted with many recognisable songs within scenes. The cast’s poise clearly came from their solidarity; as large groups on stage they exuded confidence and elation. Unfortunately I did not find them as captivating when there were fewer on stage, with one exception for Graham Richardson, the Major General, whose performance was fantastic throughout. Their other major flaw was that when the more than 20 strong cast were not all singing the band tended to drown out the solos. I was sitting four rows from the front - the sound must have been worse at the back of the room.Whether you are a staunch follower of G&S, or you simply have a fancy for a musical Fringe experience, Pirates of Penzance will not let you down – just make sure you get a seat close to the stage.

Reviews by Louise Hemfrey

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★★★

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★★★★★

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The Blurb

Be transported to the sunny shores of Penzance for dastardly pirates, beautiful maidens, nervous police and a very modern Major General in this feel-good performance of one of the best loved Gilbert & Sullivan Operettas. Tarantara!

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