Monday, June 11, 2012


Opera della Luna at the Civic Theatre

Jim Hutchon was in the 'Church Hall' ...

Directed by Jeff Clarke, the highly talented Opera della Luna took some liberties with Gilbert & Sullivan’s Pirates of Penzance and brought off a spectacular production without compromising the spirit of the original.

Called the Parson’s Pirates, the first half echoes the scene in a hundred church halls – “Let’s do a musical”. The Vicar (of St. Michael’s, Under-Ware!!) takes auditions from the congregation – a fine excuse for schoolboy jokes and a splendid feast of snatches from Mikado, Gondoliers, Pinafore and others. He assembles a basic company from the ill-cast hopefuls, and the second half is a truncated but beautifully-formed version of Pirates.

The Vicar (Richard Suart) casts himself as the ‘Modern Major General’ and, with an excellent baritone, delivers the patter song with clarity and finesse. The young male lead, Jeremy Finch, has a superb voice with a clear-cut compelling tone, while his opposite number, Helen Massey, hit the high notes with style and real authority. Somehow, the cast of six managed to replicate mass battles between the pirates and police, as well as a bevy of beauteous damsels.

Very effective small orchestra led by Jeff Clarke and costumes courtesy of Oxfam, Sue Ryder, British Heart Foundation and Age Concern – honest!

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