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

Space Triplex / theSpace @ Surgeons Hall


theSpace on Niddry St

The Deer Johns: A Journey


Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £600,000 to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now



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.

Most Popular See More


From £27.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Life of Pi

From £19.00

More Info

Find Tickets


From £29.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Pretty Woman: The Musical

From £18.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Everybody's Talking About Jamie

From £25.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Matilda the Musical

From £25.00

More Info

Find Tickets