Here was a production with near-perfect staging. Two glorious fixed sets gave pirates, policemen and General Stanley's daughters plenty of room to manoeuvre.
Stars shone brightly, among them David Slater, the Pirate King, Patrick O'Brien's Major-General and Stewart Adkin's marvellous Max Wall-like Sergeant of Police. Shelly Fisher triumphantly reached Mabel's very high notes, and musical director Susannah Edom must have been well-pleased with their musicality.
Supporting these principals, who also included Matthew Lecznar's suitably youthful Frederic and Ann Wilson's determined Ruth, were well ¬balanced choruses ¬congratulations to their excellent efforts, too. Director Nicholas Clough and his assistant, Angela Briley, delivered an impressive first night.
Review by Pat Rudkins
PERFORMANCE OF 1ST NOVEMBER 2008
WITHAM A.O.S. - PIRATES OF PENZANCE
Director: Nicholas Clough, Assisted by: Angela Briley, Musical Director: Susannah Edom
Produced in traditional mode, but including many amusing touches this was a good evening. In the well lit and good looking settings of rocky beach and ruined chapel, the action duly unfolded, an early unusual highlight being Frederic’s Aria to the daughters being sung, down on one knee, ‘Elvis’ style, with an upturned pistol as microphone, to instant and insistent attention from the girls: the byplay set an ongoing mood. The major principals gave good overall performances, both in character and vocally, though Mabel did exhibit some tenseness in the upper register. Ruth suffered her range of emotions well, from rejection through revenge to consolation. The Pirate King bullied and blustered in style, Frederic came acoss well as about the right age, but with an appropriate air of immaturity. The Major General was fine, and fast, and understood! Other principals and chorus members played their part too, not only vocally, but also in the good reactions to what was going on around them. One always looks forward to the Policemen’s scenes and expectation was fully rewarded, led by a nimble and excellent Sergeant, complete with a respectable Cornish accent. The final confrontation between pirates and constabulary was very short indeed and nearer to representational than real. Perhaps the good quality of the costumes and swords was such that Health and Safety won the day.
I did so enjoy this production. Despite a few faults it was fun, the orchestra and music was fine and the atmosphere was great. Many thanks.
Report by John Warburton - Regional Councillor