Pirates of Penzance @ Surgeon's Hall
Yarrr me Hearties! Hearken to the cheerful overture, unmistakeably Arthur Sullivan in disposition! Ye may ‘ave ‘eard it before in a Warner Brothers cartoon.
Well, the tall tale goes that young Frederic, by a misunderstanding of ‘is nursemaid – a little hard of hearing, was apprenticed for 21 years to a pirate instead of a pilot and is finally free to leave the seven seas for the life of a landlubber. Or so he thinks.
One thing ye got to say for Mr. Gilbert is he knows his way around a witticism, the intelligent (or should I say ‘savvy’) libretto is replete with delightful jests. There’s also a nice bit o’ swashbuckling in one scene where Frederic (played by Colm O' Siochru – ye can try sayin’ that in pirate but ye’ll find it’s hard to aaarrrticulate) fends off pirate after pirate with his cutlass. A classic!
The famous Major General’s song has been cleverly infused with some new modern lyrics written by only God knows whom, and the farrrrcical choreography to the familiar When a Felon's not Engaged in his Employment is met with due hilarity. Say the authorities: “When constabulary duty’s to be done, to be done, a policeman’s lot is not a happy one, happy one.”
Shiver me timbers but Happy Go Lucky G&S are arrrmed with some fine singers! Rachel Middle, playing the leading lass, has as fine a set of vocal chords as any lass who ever sailed the seven seas, and she can show off ‘er chops with fearlessness worth of a pirate in Take Heart: it includes some amazingly virtuosic riffing. Yer leading man Frederic has himself a wonderful vibrato, and the chorus oozes with ‘Arrrmony. The casting is very good, everyone sits well in their parts, the aptly named David Jones (Davey Jones?) seems particularly suited for the life of a Pirate King (and "it is, it is a glor'ious thing to be a Pirate King.")