Pirates of Penzance
By W.S. Gilbert and A. Sullivan
Directed by Donald Rupe
Choreography by Eric Yow
Musical Direction by Jami-Leigh Bartschi
Starring Erick Perafan, John Teixeira and Allie Kaye
This is the only Gilbert and Sullivan piece that get produced regularity, and that’s mostly due to one song: “I Am the Model of a Modern Major General.” But there’s a great story here about duty and honor and romance. Young Frederick (Perafan) was indentured to a pirate troop, and today he’s free of that obligation. Yeah! Better yet, he’s met a lovely girl Mable (Kaye) and her nine sisters, and he’s still got enough pirate buddies to get everyone married off right here and now. Even her father the Major General (David Lowe) approves. But then a plot point drops from the fly loft, and the wedding is off. What, Ho! Can things be saved? Of course, this IS a comedy and a chaste one at that.
The music soars and the characters are, well, characters. Perafan’s Fredrick is innocent and honorable, and you just want to chuck his cute little cheek. His pirates boss. (Teixeira) plays the role as a lusty, laughing roughneck and even sells the idea his troupe is gullible enough to believe all their victims are orphans. Fredrick still keeps his old nurse Ruth (Meaghan Fenner) around for old time’s sake; she makes a pass at him and while Fredrick is not the sharpest spoon in the sugar bowl, he does consider shopping around a good option for future love. Our Major General looks good in a monocle and bath robe; his rendition of MMG stops repeatedly as he searches for rhymes that bend even Gilbert and Sullivan’s best effort to shoehorn them into the song. None of the pirates looked like they were comfortable with swords, and the sisters of Mabel seemed rather airheaded, but I think they will make good post-production British aristocrats.
The lighting was clever and tuned as if we were still using lime light. There was little subtly; the lights were flat but lead to interesting shadow effects and make up highlights. The singing and musical production ranks highly; even the weaker songs connected with the audience, and the small ensemble of musician were placed high in the poop desk of the pirate ship. That made little difference to our enjoyment but did allow me to type the “Poop Deck” in this review twice, and for that I am glad.