Review: The Pirates of Penzance - Kirkcaldy Gilbert & Sullivan Society

editorial image

The Pirates of Penzance had it’s debut, not in London, but on Broadway on New Year’s Eve 1879!

Here in Kirkcaldy in 2018 the crowds still love this fun operetta with its catchy tunes and clever wit.

This production by Kirkcaldy Gilbert & Sullivan Society sparkled from beginning to end, with great musical aptitude, acting and strength from both Principals and Chorus.

Everyone on stage looked happy and appeared to be enjoying themselves immensely.

Having the silent film made of rehearsals to accompany the overture was a masterstroke and involved the audience right from the start on the journey to Penzance.

Well done to Creative Coffee Productions for the film, and to Director Robin Ozog for such an adroit opener to this delightful show which abounded with his skilful touches.

The performance opened with another clever little interlude with the Pirate King advising the MD to be quiet because the Pirates were being chased by the crew of HMS Pinafore! The offstage singing from both the men of the Pinafore and the following group of Sisters, Cousins and Aunts was a novel idea.

The production then reverted to the traditional opening with the male chorus, Samuel, Ruth and the Pirate King. It was heartening to see and hear such a strong pirate ensemble. Their rousing ‘Pour, Oh Pour the Pirate Sherry’ promised much, and we were not to be disappointed!

Ross Main was well cast as the Pirate King, and with his fine baritone voice and acting ability, audiences enjoyed a confident and professional performance. He commanded the stage as a tall and imposing figure in his bright red shirt.

Supporting the Pirate King, the part of Samuel was well cast in Brian Shaw, whose strong voice and acting ability carried this part to perfection.

As the topsy turvy plot continued we were next introduced to Ruth, played by Frances Taylor. She fulfilled her role ‘very well indeed’ and acted superbly, delivering a thoroughly consummate performance. She displayed a wide vocal range, having played the soprano role of Rosalinda in last year’s Pink Champagne

Ruth, of course, in her turn introduced the audience to Frederic, played by Nick Temperley, a newcomer to the society.

He both looked and played the part well and his diction was extremely clear. He coped commendably well with this demanding role, his fine voice complementing that of Jilly Martin as Mabel.

Again, Jilly was well cast as the coquettish lovestruck teenager, her clear soprano voice thrilling the audiences. Her acting was extremely good, especially when fighting with Ruth over Frederic! Audiences loved this small cameo scene.

Both Caroline Warburton as Edith, and Hale Denholm as Kate acted and sang their parts with aplomb, supported by Amanda Gear displaying her fine acting skills as Isabel.

Robin Ozog was very convincing as the Major General, and he excelled in this comic role, as he always does. Audiences enjoy listening to his fine light baritone voice and watching his masterful presence on stage.

Another comic role, that of the Sergeant of Police was admirably portrayed. Dave Smith both looked and sounded like the archetypal ‘theatrical bobby’ with his plump figure and strong base voice.

On a couple of occasions the chorus got slightly enthusiastic, but were well checked and brought back into line by the Society’s Musical Director, John Howden, who conducted a very proficient and full orchestra.

The chorus was strong and well-balanced and when joined by the Principals, the overall sound was full and impressive. This is a very talented society!

The set was most effective and left sufficient room for movement of chorus to carry out a most impressive Grand March, and the whole production was a very enjoyable experience.

It was obvious that this was a very happy ensemble delighting and believing in their production, and it showed.

Well Done Kirkcaldy G&S!