Pirates steal sport

Olympic Rant #17 IOC what you are up to

Pirates of the High-O Sea

REDCLIFFE Musical Theatre rendered the Gilbert & Sullivan musical The Pirates of Penzance as if it were carried on an invigorating ocean breeze.
The large cast of many ages was obviously having fun and it was contagious for the audience.
Pirates, along with The Mikado and H.M.S. Pinafore, is the most popular of the 14 collaborations of Gilbert and Sullivan.
Although the play is often called a comic opera, it is far more accessible to a general audience than continental opera which Gilbert and Sullivan sent up.
Gilbert and Sullivan were English and their Shakespearean heritage shines through plentiful plays on words, accompanied by musical spoofs.
Directing duo Madeleine Johns and Gordon Ball work seamlessly with choreographer Meredith Johns and musical director Sheree Drummond to create a delightful musical comedy.
Each act was rendered virtually without set changes with actors hiding behind parts of the set and, to much amusement, plant foliage.
Female lead Annika Hinricks as Mabel was in fine voice and readily accepted the challenge of the occasional musical trick in the play.
Her love interest Frederic was played by Jonathon Sweeper whose clear vocals and expressive visage carried the part well.
Thomas Armstong-Robley stole the show with his Deppesque movements as the sometimes ruthless, sometimes befuddled Pirate King.
Barry Haworth brought out the full humour embedded in his character Major General, of the much parodied song which is a highlight of the play.

Johnathan Johnson as the Sergeant of Police led his officers around the stage with beguiling walks and puppet-like head popping.

Young costume designer/ producer Kara Fisher has done a fabulous job with the clobber. It all looked wonderful with colourful pirates, pristine maidens and quintessential bobbies. Fisher aims to design for stage and screen and this play is a big  early tick in her portfolio.
Sullivan once described his music for Pirates as ‘tunier’ than that of H.M.S. Pinafore.
Tuny is a good a word as any for a score that ranges from the sprightly to the boisterous.
The RMT orchestra, assuredly conducted by Sheree Drummond, who seemed to be enjoying the exercise immensely, was always buoyant but never over-bearing.
The Redcliffe Musical Theatre version of the Pirates of Penzance is based on the award-winning New York Public Theater  adaptation.
All in all, The Pirates of Penzance is a joyous musical.
It continues at Redcliffe Cultural Centre until August 19. Book at www.redcliffeculturalcentre.com.au or phone 3283 0407.
Whenever you see someone being officious or bullying, sing Tarantara! Tarantara! OIC it coming on now!

Bernie Dowling, August 12, 2012.

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