1983 The Pirates of Penzance

Gazette Review

Pirates win at Witham

IT’S the chorus who co-star in this outstanding production of the Pirates of Penzance. The smiling women in their Victorian frocks float about the stage like ballerinas and the men, whether as tender-hearted pirates or comic coppers, all have individual parts to play especially the chap who looks like Charlie Chaplin.

But the principals stand up to this competition very well. Notable performances come from Malcolm Lowe (Frederic) and Elisabeth Miller (Mabel). Tony Wood's Sergeant of Police is a little masterpiece of comedy and Tim Sheppard is suitable desiccated and eccentric as the Major-General. Nicolas Clough is a towering Pirate King, Rita Pages Ruth is a shrewd and delightful study and Ewart Cornfield is, once again, the best Samuel in the business.

The experts, prize-winning Derek Collins and musical director Gareth Dallender-Jones, have done their work well. It is on every evening for the rest of the week with a matinee on Saturday.


BWT Review

Quite simply a very good show

WITHAM Operatic Society has decided to give Gilbert and Sullivan a rest in 1984. So it is a good thing that they put on such a bubbling presentation of The Pirates of Penzance last week and leave us with such happy memories of the heavenly twins. Derek Collins’ production was full of enjoyable and stimulating entertainment. The movement throughout was full of bounce and vitality, the comedy was uproarious at times, the costumes were fine and if the hired scenery was rather uninspired perhaps the enthusiastic Savoyards can do something about it when they return.

The singing, as befits a pseudo grand opera, must be exceptionally good and, under the direction of Gareth Dallender-Jones, it was. Experienced Elisabeth Miller made a tuneful, dominating Mabel and Lara Barber, Janet Collins and Angela Lait were attractive and vivacious lesser lights. Rita Page made the downtrodden Ruth a character to watch with interest and General Stanley’s daughters, all of whom were beauties, sang well and wove pretty patterns over the stage.

But the production of this large family had 'taken its toll' and precise, accurate and amusing Tim Sheppard cleverly indicated this with his slightly crumbling Major-General. Malcolm Lowe provided a manly, well-sung Frederic and Nicholas Clough’s Pirate King was splendidly articulate. We have met Tony Wood’s richly comic Police Sergeant before and always with delight.
A little research revealed that the funniest of all the funny coppers was none other than Stewart Adkins, a leading man temporarily ‘resting’ in the chorus.

The villainous pirate crew, with Ewart Cornfield as their efficient lieutenant, stamped about to our entire satisfaction and in all their long history Witham have seldom done better.

Gilbert Sutcliffe.

Chronicle Review

Model performance

The Pirates of Penzance — Witham Amateur Operatic Society

ANY local amateur performers who would like to see a model performance of Gilbert and Sullivan should hasten to the Public Hall in Witham tonight or tomorrow to catch Derek Collins’ stylish production of The Pirates of Penzance for the Witham Amateur Operatic Society.

All the principals are outstandingly good: acting and singing are of the highest order. Nicholas Clough is a super bold Pirate King, Tony Wood a bibulous sergeant of Police. Tim Sheppard zooms through his patter song with not so much as single hiatus as a very martial Major-General Stanley and Malcolm Lowe is suitably keen as the Pirate Apprentice.

The ladies are delightful: Elisabeth Miller trills sweetly as Mabel; Lara Barber. Janet Collins and Angela Lait are a becoming trio of daughters and Rita Page a very dependable Maid of All Work.

The chorus, both male and female, works excellently together and Gareth Dallender-Jones conducts a trim little orchestra.

Don't miss it.

Jon Richards