The Pirates Of Penzance

Next to The Mikado, The Pirates of Penzance is probably the best known and most loved Gilbert and Sullivan operetta, with songs that everyone knows and can sing along with such a ‘A policeman’s lot is not a happy one’ and ‘I am the very model of a modern Major-General’. With dangerous pirates, cowardly police, beautiful daughters and an honourable, if somewhat dim, hero, what more could anyone want?The fun starts even before the performance begins, as the programmes are designed to be turned into pirate hats, with printed instructions provided on them. This ensures that everyone is the right mood from the start. The pirates, fierce but jolly, are already on the stage as the audience comes in and there is a great deal of banter between the pirates and the audience. In some ways it is more like a pantomime than a musical. The laughter starts the moment the action begins and continues without interruption to the very end.The cast throw themselves into it with great energy and obvious enjoyment. Although it might seem unfair to pick out any one actor, mention must be made of Sam Cable as Major-General Stanley, who is not only very funny and sings very rapidly, but also takes over the keyboards at one stage. The director, Naomi Lawrence, has done an excellent job and made the work seem very fresh and relevant. I particularly like the amount of care taken over relatively small things, such as the pirates singing ‘with cat-like tread’, whose footsteps come down with remarkable heaviness, as far from a cat's as could be. An excellent, enjoyable production. The main problem is that it’s on for only a short run and I suspect that it will be difficult or impossible to get tickets for it.

Reviews by Alan Chorley

History Boys

★★★★

Dracula

★★

Cherry Orchard

★★★★

Azincourt

★★★★

Secret Garden

★★★★

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The Blurb

Gilbert & Sullivan's classic comedy brought to joyous life by the company that brought you 'HMS Pinafore' (Fringe sell-out 2008) and 'Guilds' (***** [ThreeWeeks, 2007]). Biting wit, beautiful songs and silly policemen abound!

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