The Pirates of Penzance

Date 9th December 2023
Society Woodley Light Operatic Society
Venue The Alan Cornish Theatre, Oakwood Centre, Woodley
Type of Production G&S
Director Jane Murphy
Musical Director Simon King
Choreographer Jane Murphy
Written By Gilbert and Sullivan


Author: Cate Naylor

Thank you for inviting me to your production of The Pirates of Penzance was not without its difficulties as many of the cast succumbed to a nasty bug which left them without voices. However, in the true theatrical spirit of ‘the show must go on’ members of the cast rose to the challenge of swapping parts and learning lines with speed. There were some strong characterisations brought out by the cast and some excellent singing.

With many G&S productions under her belt, the director got the best from this enthusiastic company with well-planned movement and comic moments. There was excellent use of the stage with some interesting blocking and use of set pieces and props. She had clearly worked with the cast to develop their characterisation, physicality, and comic timing. The choreography was simple, but well devised and worked effectively and there was some entertaining and comical choreography for the chorus of policemen.

As always in a WLOS production, the costumes were bright and vibrant, working well for each of the cast. The staging consisted of two hand painted sets of scenery which were both nicely illustrative of the general location of each act. One was a seascape set in a cove with a ship out at sea and rocks surrounding it, and the other in a graveyard where the depressed Major General quietly contemplated the lies he has told the pirates.

Well done to all for an enjoyable production and for battling through ill health and cast changes. It is a credit to the society and its members that you pulled together and managed to put on the show!