Pirates Of Penzance
A simple stage, predominantly white costumes and a lone piano player allowed this latest production of the classical Gilbert & Sullivan Operetta to shine a stark focus on the musical repartee. Touring from the UK, the all-male cast appeared as pirates, policemen and giggling sisters and provided a lot of laughs as well as a couple of genuinely touching moments amongst the farce.
Though there was a lot of action and movement when the curtain rose and we were first introduced to our band of pirates, the production only really kicked in to high gear with the arrival of Mabel and her sisters Climbing Over Rocky Mountain. With some of the sisters built like footballers, the skirts and lilting voices were a funny contrast, but their voices soon put any doubts to rest. And Joseph Houston – who played aging maid Ruth – and Alan Richardson, as leading lady Mabel, were the stand outs across the whole cast. Richardson’s emotional moments with Frederic, played by the charming Matthew Gent, were played to revered silence in the audience, while Neal Moors as a very dashing Major-General did a pretty solid job of tongue twister I Am The Very Model Of A Major-General. With such a strong cast, it would’ve been nice for the Pirate King, Nic Gibney, to live his role a little bit larger. After all the Pirate King legacy isn’t one to take a backseat.
One audience member said of the show, “What a silly load of nonsense”. It was an apt description considering it was meant in the nicest possible way.
Sydney Theatre until Saturday 23 November
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