The Pirates of Penzance

Campy am-dram with a pre-school aesthetic, Edinburgh theatre company, Cat-Like Tread’s The Pirates of Penzance is likely to have you humming the Gilbert and Sullivan Songs but will leave you utterly uninspired.

With frankly messy choreography and a hideous visual style, this version’s one saving grace is in the company’s vocals.

With frankly messy choreography and a hideous visual style, this version’s one saving grace is in the company’s vocals. They rarely falter. Not a word or a beat is missed and anyone who knows Gilbert and Sullivan will know that’s somewhat of an achievement in itself. But between the songs the acting is often as uninspired as the staging and costumes and above all the terrible painted giant building blocks. The artistic direction seems to have aimed at silliness and landed flat on abysmally infantile.

All the key songs are there; I Am the Pirate King, the staging of which is actually quite fun and is performed well, Poor Wand’ring One and I Am The Very Model of a Modern Major General, the latter of which whilst sung competently lacks the comical and theatrical flair it deserves. The entire cast could do with injecting more roguishness and full heartiness into their performances, and whilst it’s nice that the full opera has been attempted it may have been more successful to simply do the show as a concert.

Go for a fix of Gilbert and Sullivan, but go with low expectations.

Reviews by Dave House

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Performances

Location

The Blurb

Gilbert and Sullivan’s comic opera is a rollicking tale of pirates, policemen and poor young orphans. Misadventures in love, thrilling chases, devotion to the queen and above all, a strong sense of duty, make this an exciting show perfect for audiences of all ages. With its memorable songs and entertaining characters, this energetic performance will have you smiling and humming for days. Cat-Like Tread is a newly formed Edinburgh theatre company with a love of all things G&S. They hope this will be the first of many shows they will perform at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.