Adults Only Pirates of Penzance

Adults Only Pirates of Penzance
By Gilbert and Sullivan. BK Opera. Director: Kate Millett. Musical Director: James Penn. Kindred Studios, Yarraville. Mar 29 – 31, 2018.

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. An “Adults Only” version of The Pirates of Penzance could potentially be very funny or very embarrassing.

Fortunately it was the former.

For an “Adults Only” version, it was relatively tame. The pirates all wore skimpy satin shorts, the Major-General’s daughters all took off their dresses to paddle in the ocean and the policewomen wore figure-hugging leather costumes showing lots of leg, but Game of Thrones this was not. What did get some red-blooded members of the audience excited was Mabel, at the end of “Poor Wandering One”, taking off her dress to reveal black bikini and negligee, and proceeding to tie Frederic up and flay him with her whip!

Not something I’d seen in Pirates of Penzance before.

However, it was a very enjoyable evening. I particularly admired the innovation. This small company obviously had a limited number of performers to fit onto a small stage, so we had two sexy policewomen and no policemen. The Major-General had fallen so far behind the rest of the party, that one of his daughters impersonated him! Very funny.

A couple of the major chorus numbers were cut, but otherwise it was the complete show, and it was interesting that many of the best laughs were for lines written by Gilbert. It would appear some audience members had never seen the show before.

Finn Gilheany was an impressive Pirate King, while Stephen Carolane, usually singing secondary roles, impressed as Frederic. Kate Bright sang beautifully as Ruth and Belinda Dalton was a fiery Mabel.

The only disappointment was the accompaniment. Pam Christie was excellent on the piano, but it was much too soft. Perhaps it could be positioned further away from curtains to give more support to the performers.

Another entertaining evening from this exciting young company.

Graham Ford.

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