The Pirates of Penzance

Date 27th February 2015
Society Hereford Gilbert & Sullivan Operatic Society
Venue The Courtyard, Hereford
Type of Production Musical
Director Alistair Donkin
Musical Director Alan Durman


Author: Louise Hickey MBE

My first thought as the overture ended and the curtain opened was, where did they get all these men from? What a lovely change to see, and hear, such a strong male chorus. The ladies chorus were great too and the three daughter’s antics excellently played out by Rachel Roper, Meriel Ford and our very own Regional Secretary and Treasurer Wendy Winterburn, were hysterical. I could hardly believe my eyes when Wendy fell on her derriere with her legs stuck straight up in the air and kept them there for some time. I was very jealous of her agility.  The comedy continued throughout this production and a new twist was given to Frederick’s rendition of ‘Oh is there not one maiden breast’ when Russell Painter became Elvis Presley, right down to the wiggling hips, and the three daughters threw themselves at his feet.

The set was fabulous and the ensemble was so perfectly placed to make the very best of it. ‘Hail Poetry’ made such a wonderful picture. The lighting was stunning for Mabel, ably played by Laura Durham, and Frederick’s ‘Ah, leave me not to pine’ which they sung beautifully.

The Policemen led by Jim Smith as the Sergeant were brilliant and so funny. Their dance routines were terrific and the reprise of ‘When a foeman bears his steel’ sung silently was fantastic. I loved the fact that they looked like Keystone Cops too.

Alan Durman was great as the Major General and John Bezant made a good Pirate King, once I got used to the modern glasses with the wig. Gill Haslam was very funny as Ruth and ‘A Paradox’ sung with The Pirate King and Frederick was excellent.

The fantastic use of the stage and the fact that there was something going on all of the time by the entire cast proved yet again what a fantastic Director Alistair Donkin is. It was a fantastic show, thank you.