Tuesday 9th April saw the opening of Fortwilliam Musical Societies latest production Pirates Of Penzance, we were invited along to Theatre at the Mill last to see them in action.
Before I delve into my thoughts here a the show Synopsis
Gilbert and Sullivan’s most popular show, The Pirates of Penzance, is a rollicking, delightfully funny tale of a band of soft-tempered pirates. Mistakenly apprenticed to a pirate (instead of a pilot) by his nursemaid Ruth at the age of eight, the handsome Frederic is now twenty-one and, though quite fond of the group of joyous and fun-loving pirates, chooses to abandon his profession and “lead a blameless life henceforth,” dedicating himself instead to their eradication. Shortly after leaving them, he encounters a gaggle of beautiful maidens (one of whom, Mabel, steals his heart) and their father, the eccentric Major-General. The whole group has a run-in with the pirates themselves before escaping on the false premise that the Major-General is an orphan -- a fact these tenderhearted pirates simply cannot help but take into account, given the fact that the majority of them are orphans themselves and “know what it’s like.” Just as Frederic is ready to lead a band of lily-livered policemen to take out the Pirate King and his men, a secret is uncovered that will change his fate forever, but, naturally, all comes out right in the end. Beloved since its premiere in 1879, The Pirates of Penzance (or The Slave of Duty) is a delightful farce of a classic that is fun for all ages.
The extremely talented cast didn’t miss a trick in the amusing tale set on a rocky seashore in Cornwall. Local MT legend Peter Kennedy took on the mammoth roles of both Director and Choreographer and what a job he done. The choreography lit up the production, particularly with the chorus of girls and the hilarious scene featuring Sergeant of Police Aaron Butler and his terrified cops. Aaron having been off the stage for 5 years was a breath of fresh air, he really made us lol
John Lindop who is no stranger to the stage sang well as young Frederic. Theatre goers will have seen him in countless productions such as Julian in 42nd Street in the GOH which was staged last year. This was John's debut with Fortwilliam though he has preformed in a prior production of Pirates. He gave a confident and captivating performance. I hope this is not the last time he works with the society.
Ruth, Frederic’s nurse and pirate maid was portrayed by Ditanya McKinty, Fortwilliam followers will have seen her in last years production of Sister Act in which she played Sister Mary Lazarus, I had the pleasure of working along side them and I must say her rap was hilarious. This is a completely different role for Ditanya and her 2nd with the society and I feel she done a great job.
A fine performance was delivered from Kerry Rooney M.B.E as the Pirate King. Kerry has won a plethora of awards and is the only person to be awarded Best Actor by both AIMS and ADCI, he was cool and collected on stage, a true professional. His vocal chops also nothing to be sniffed at, he was clear and easy to understand.
He was well matched by Drew Reid in the role of Major-General Stanley, its great to see Drew a long running society member front and centre giving a stellar performance. I have no idea how on earth he managed his song in regular speed never mind when then tempo was cranked up. Kudos to you.
Megan Jane Mooney was a delight as Mabel who fell in love with Frederic. Her singing of Poor Wand’ring One proved to be one of many highlights. What a voice, having read the programme it comes at no surprise to me the amount of training and work she has done over the years. Easily the best voice to grace the stage. Congrats
Others that deserve a mention are Ella Taylor Campbell, Helena Hendron, Megan Paul and Stephen McQuillian, all extremely talented with wonderful voices, I found myself hooked on them during their scene's. Well done
The Set was basic though perfectly adequate, I don't recall any lengthy scene changes and the sounds coming from the talented orchestra under Andrew Tubman couldn't be faulted.
If you are an Operetta lover or simply favour the classics then this will right up your street, for me I hold my hands up and say it wasn't exactly my cup of tea though I appreciate and can see the level of work put in by the talented cast, I certainly couldn't of done it. Go and see it. It’s your duty to do so
It runs until Saturday and tickets can be purchased by clicking here