The Pirates of Penzance

Date 4th May 2022
Society East Norfolk Operatic Society
Venue Maddermarket Theatre, Norwich
Type of Production G&S
Director Keith Swetman..assist Margaret Collingwood
Musical Director DDr Susannah Self
Choreographer Margaret Collingwood and Rachel Goodchild
Producer co-ordinator Paddy Wildman


Author: Martyn Rolfe

After a warm welcome from the front of house members and in front of a large audience we were treated to a most novel opening to this well- known operetta as we met Frederick and Mabel as he finally completed his indentures at the age of 84. Then it was straight in to that rousing overture and the small orchestra did not let us down.

With cat like tread 12 pirates emerged from behind enormous rocks and got the show off to a great start, with strong solo lines particularly Samuel (Luke Davey) they gave us a powerful rendition of the Pirate song. Enter the Pirate King (Clifford De Spenser) leader of this motley but soft hearted crew. A laid back character, but with an air of authority. Ruth (Ros Swetman), a pirate maid of all work, entered and proceeded to show off her singing prowess and long stage experience which was well maintained throughout the show. The Pirate King not to be outdone went into his song and with the support of his crew gave us another rousing number. Frederic (Andrew Inglis) confidently sang and acted his way through all the trials and tribulations with confidence and with a lovely, very listenable, tenor voice. He would soon be joined by Mabel (Kizzy Beckett) who gave an almost perfect portrayal. Hers is a voice made to sing G & S, what a delight to listen to. This combination made all the duets a real treat for the whole audience. General Stanleys daughters appeared and led by a very strong trio of Edith (Becky Pick), Kate (Sam Ellis) and Isabel (Victoria Seals) climbed over the rocky mountains beautifully and sang strongly throughout the show. General Stanley (Edmund Ramsdale) went into his tongue twisting song at great speed but managed to maintain the diction and pronunciations admirably. He was an archetypal Stanley and like many of his fellow actors excelled at this part. The comedy moment was our introduction to the inept Police force led by their equally inept Sergeant (Ian Hytch), always a pleasure to see this bit of show and we were left laughing.

Hail Poetry was a moment of absolute joy as those voices combined to almost bring the roof down but with control and tone.

The production team, Keith Swetman (Stage Director) and Dr Susannah Self (Musical Director) had obviously worked hard to achieve this standard of show. It was good to see so many new and returning members, ENOS ten out of ten for recruitment. The scenery as usual was very impressive and had, I understand, involved many members of the company. It was worth the effort.

If this is the standard that companies will produce after lockdown then I cannot wait to see the rest. A delightful evening.