BWW Reviews: PIRATES OF PENZANCE a Glorious Thing

By: Aug. 11, 2014
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A paradox! A paradox! A most ingenious paradox! Only the ridiculous humor and unpredictable circumstances of Gilbert and Sullivan could make so much sense. In the capable hands and clear diction of Lamplighters Musical Theatre, it is, indeed, a glorious thing to be a pirate king, or the audience of one.

The Pirates of Penzance bear their flag insignia like that of a biker gang, led with pomp and circumstance by the dashing Ben Brady (alternating with Charles Martin) as the Pirate King (in tight leather pants and bright red, puffy sleaves). Melissa Wortman and Miriam Lewis give great attention to costume design, allowing the pirates and young maidens' dress to match their unique personalities. The cast and crew of more than 50 include a flawless orchestra conducted by Baker Peeples and a personable ensemble of Major-General daughters, Pirates who wish to steal the ladies for their brides and Policemen with uniforms too big for their humorous reservations.

Pirate apprentice Frederic has come of age and vows to rid the world of the scoundrels he sees as family, but morally detests. Upon seeing the lovely daughters of the Major-General, Frederic rejects the deceptive elder nurse maid he had promised to marry, that is, upon the condition that she was truthfully as beautiful as any young woman. But upon the discovery of a most ingenious paradox, Frederic finds himself torn from his new life with his betrothed and duty-bound to the Pirates of Penzance until 1940.

Samuel Faustine's bright eyes and young voice fill the stage as Frederic (also played at select performances by Robert Vann). His facial expressions, along with those of Sonia Gariaeff (alternating with Deborah Rosengaus) as nurse maid Ruth, Brady's Pirate King and F. Lawrence Ewing's Major-General Stanley complement director Jane Erwin Hammet's comical staging. Highlights include those bumbling police officers, plenty of in-time step-kick movements, and a side-splitting second-act ballet too good to spoil here. Ewing continues to impress as a master of the patter song ("I am the very model of a modern Major-General"), while Elena Galvan as Frederic's fiance Mabel (also played by Kaia Richards at select performances) surprises with a sweet and clear operatic voice worthy of far-larger stages.

Peter Crompton's gorgeous sea-rocks and cathedral graveyard scenic designs complete a perfect production. Pirates of Penzance is the most popular of Gilbert and Sullivan's work, and with Lamplighters' at the helm, it's easy to see why. "Pour, O pour the pirate sherry" for this fabulous rendition.


Lamplighters Mysical Theatre
Through August 24

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Photo Credit: Charles Martin