Pirates of Penzance – March 2009

Director & Choreographer: Eric Pover
Musical Director: David Greatbanks

The Cast

Mabel – Jane Johnson
Fredrick – Mike Bradley
Ruth – Sue Dodd
Pirate King – Steve Turnbull
Samuel – Kevin Whitfield
Major General – Graham Wilkes
Police Seargent – Simon Dean
Daughter – Charlotte Platt
Daughter – Izzy Pearce Higham
Daughter – Barbara Thompson
Daughter – Linda Race
Daughter – Bethany Froud

(Review taken from NODA Magazine)

THE PIRATES OF PENZANCE

(Simon Gallaher’s Musical Theatre Version)
Crewe Amateur Musicals Society
Director & Choreographer: Eric Pover
Musical Director: David Greatbanks

The North West premier staging of the Australian version of Pirate was given a rousing reception at Crewe’s Lyceum Theatre.

I do not recall an audience, many of whom came in appropriate fancy dress, being so enthusiastically taken up with a performance as they were on the final night of this spectacular production when the fifth call for an encore of ‘Cat Like Tread’ caused the MD to wave a white flag.

An enviable cast list totalling 45, of whom 21 were male, speaks volumes for the interest generated by this version of an old favourite.

The opening scene – behind a gauze – in which well known characters from other G & S operas were chased or carried off by pirates set the tongue-in-cheek tone from the outset.

As the Pirate King, Steve Turnbull was superb: dare one mention Johnny Depp in the same breath. His antics were hilarious.

Missing the boat and landing in the water, and mistiming the intended beheading of Major-General Stanley finishing up with his own head in a bucket, were but two of them.

The lovely Jane Johnson brought her fine voice, and a hint of mischievousness, to the role of his daughter, Mabel, partnered magnificently by Mike Bradley as Frederic.

In recent months I have seen him in three different roles all performed to critical acclaim.

The part of Ruth was a gift to Sue Dodd. Every nuance of the character was there with a raucous delivery that would have stripped the paint of a door at twenty paces.

None the less strident was Kevin Whitfield enjoying his role as the Pirate King’s side-kick, Samuel, not a bit lie his previous role as Trevor Gaydon in Thoroughly Modern Millie which earned his a NODA NW nomination.

As the Sergeant of Police, Simon Dean performed to great effect with an athletic routine that must have been so taxing and so different from the usual portrayal of this character, which Graham Wilks was every inch the Modern Major-General Stanley.

In this version the Major-General has but five daughters, the Fabulettes, and what a fabulous quintet Bethany Froud, Charlotte Platt, Linda Race, Barbara Tomlinson and Yzzy Pearce-Higham proved to be, combining fun and laughter with delightful singing and dancing.

The chorus routines were impeccable with a finale to rival that of Mama Mia!

Every aspect of the production – music, costumes, lighting, sound, props and staging – combined in a production that will live in the memory for a long time to come.