PIRATES OF PENZANCE
Shenfield Operatic Society
A deck chair with G&S balanced on the side where the G&T should be. The Major General's local, the Tremorden Arms, complete with ancient mariners and much reduced pit orchestra. A bracing dip in the briny for Stanley, and all before the opening number.
Herbie Hobbs's brisk, witty production was full of fun. You wouldn't go here for a definitive reading of the score. Lynne Barry's Ruth had the most operatic voice, and also gave a lovely character. David Ward was a fetching Frederic, apprentice to the bunch of brigands, led by David Pridige's Depp-curled Pirate King, very athletic and a strong presence, though we feared his voice might not make it to the end of the run. Louise Byrne was a feisty Mabel, and Percy Cutler was the Sergeant heading an amusing Dads' Army of constables.
The above-mentioned military man was played by Rick McGeough, his model song crystal clear, with a bonus encore on topical themes. Another Wilde card was the appearance of Miss Prism, Georgie Godbold, quoting Thespis [the first ever G&S collaboration, surviving only in one number adapted for Pirates] and bearing a tea cosy and French fancies. She was governess to the gels, all beautifully dressed [by Tony Brett] and making good use of the stage space.
The musical director was Richard Wade.