The Pirates Of Penzance – September 2009


By Gilbert and Sullivan

Directed by ??

Company: Carla Rosa

Venue: Richmond Theatre

Date: Wednesday 16th September 2009

Let’s face it, any G&S is 10/10 as far as I’m concerned, and it would have to be a pretty naff production to get a lower rating. Today’s Pirates wasn’t as good as last year’s Mikado but I still had a wonderful time, sniffling from the get-go and loving every minute.

During the latter part of the overture, and behind the see-through curtain with the picture of a skull and crossed pistol and truncheon, we saw the Major-General sitting in the cove on a deckchair. Then they raised a sheet (dark green?) to represent the sea. A cut-out pirate ship sailed across from right to left (good laugh) and then we saw the Major-General doing his calisthenics before popping in for a swim (more laughs). The pirate ship appeared again, giving him a fright (even more laughs) and when the sea sheet was lowered he was back on the beach to grab his things and head off before the pirates landed, which they did shortly afterwards. The prow of their ship appeared on the left of the stage, with Ruth acting as the figurehead, and then we were into the opening song.

There were good reactions from the chorus throughout. The Major General made a chuckle out of “e-e-e-e-e” in the orphan song. They added a governess, tea stand and changing hut when the girls arrived. Karen Dunbar was good as the head police(wo)man, giving the audience a bit of geeing up. I felt the stage was a bit cramped, even for the reduced numbers on this tour, and as I couldn’t hear the words so clearly this time I found myself thinking we might see it again at Chichester, opportunity permitting, to see what sort of difference the more open stage made.  (Any excuse.) [Didn’t manage to fit it in, sadly]

© 2009 Sheila Evans at

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