From the moment the doors open and the seats of Hamer Hall begin to fill, colourfully dressed young men and fair maidens stroll through the isles, interacting with the public as well as each other, whilst a merry bunch of swashbuckling pirates congregates on stage, enticing the observers with what is to come, and that which does come, is great over the top, light and fluffy fun.
Though there was little reference to the classic which debuted in 1879, this silly adaptation, mirroring the 1981 Broadway production is one fabulously orchestrated show.
From the beautiful costumes, overly dramatic acting (reminiscent of South American soap operas), earth shaking vocals, amazing Orchestra Australia, whimsical set design, spot on choreography, tongue and cheek humour, and even sideline extras, with the direction of Dean Bryant, The Pirates of Penzance delivers more bang for the buck than expected.
Not the usual rough and tumble, toothless, mean bunch of pirates, some looked as though they might also perform at a hen’s night on the side; with chiseled features and six-pack abs showing, lets just say that these pirates are easy on the eyes. Alas, their Adonis-like physical attributes do not deter from their performance, as this bunch of seafaring lads can also sing and dance like nobody’s business.
Another large group of performers are, the fair maidens, captured by the pirates and in danger of becoming their unwilling brides. They are absolutely stunning, both visually and vocally; lead by the talented Stephanie Grigg (Edith).
Then there were the Keystone Cops, or that’s what they looked and acted like anyway. Lead by Brent Hill as the Sergeant of Police, the coppers, in their slightly odd attire (1920s bathing costumes) were a comedic delight.
Adam Murphy was seriously funny in his interpretation of the Pirate King; his voice is strong and assertive, very appropriate for the role. Gareth Keegan’s portrayal of a dashing albeit innocent about women, Frederic, allowed him to shine both for his comedic talents as well as his voice. Claire Lyon belted out a memorable and powerful soprano performance. Wayne Scott Kermond personified the Major General, and made him quite endearing at that.
All in all, this production of The Pirates of Penzance is a light hearted and exuberant performance, definitely worth experiencing. Catch them while you can, as the season is quite short. Bring the whole family, as it’s truly great fun for the young and old alike.
The Production Company presents
The Pirates of Penzance
by Gilbert and Sullivan
Director Dean Bryant
Venue: Hamer Hall, Arts Centre Melbourne
Dates: 30 October – 3 November 2013
Bookings: artscentremelbourne.com.au | 1300 182 183