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Tuesday 22 March 2016

Pirates of Penzance Review

Review by Angie Frost

The Pirates of Penzance is set during the reign of Queen Victoria and is a comic opera in two acts with music by Arthur Sullivan and Libretto by W S Gilbert.

The Broadway production opened at the Uris Theatre in New York on January 8th 1981 and ran for 787 performances.

The evening started off with a tuneful overture with an excellent orchestra of musicians under the direction of John Tripp.  As the curtain rose we were delighted to a large male chorus of pirates and an excellent vocal sound of “Pour, Oh Pour the Pirate Sherry”.

The main characters Pirate King (Phillip Cable), Ruth (Joanna Tripp), Mabel, (Hannah-Marie Webb), Frederic (Matthew Juggins) and Major-General (Mick Wilson) were all believable in their roles and acted and sang to a high standard.

Supporting Roles Sergeant of Police (Stephen Cooper), Samuel (Chris Lucas), Kate (Kimberley Brough), Isabel (Jane Johnson) and  Edith (Rachel Mayes) were perfectly cast and contributed their individual characterisation to this production.

Ruth (Joanna Tripp) gave a strong performance with good characterisation, clear dialogue and singing.  I particularly liked her duet with Frederic “Oh False One You Have deceived Me” and the audience reaction as she crawled on her knees was a joy.

Frederic (Matthew Juggins).  It was so lovely to see a Frederic that was natural, as sometimes this part can be played as a bit of a lad.  Matthew was a delight to watch and a pleasure to listen to.  I enjoyed his trios with Ruth and Pirate King in act two.

Pirate king (Phillip Cable) performed well with good singing and was very believable as the head of the pirates.

Mabel ( Hannah-Marie Webb) was a delight with beautiful singing voice, coping very well with those difficult songs.  Her duet with Frederic “No I’ll Be Brave” was emotionally put across.

Major-General (Mick Wilson) was a joy to watch from the moment he appeared with his brilliant wordy song “Modern Major-General” and energetic moves with great diction and comic timing,  FABULOUS.

The chorus of Pirates, Police and Major-General daughters all sang well showing  lots of individual characters. 

Director (John Hebden) had worked very hard on this production with some great added touches.  My favourite moments were “With Cat Liked Tread” with great movement and added touch of light sabres in the reprise and The Pirate kings Selfie Stick photo of the pirates at the end of the song.

Lighting Design by (John Castle) and Sound by (Phil Stannard) were excellent and costumes were in keeping with the period.

Thank you very much for a most enjoyable evening and I look forward to seeing future productions, well done Ware Operatic.