National Operatic & Dramatic Association
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The Pirates of Penzance


18th March 2016


Heckmondwike Players


Cleckheaton Town Hall

Type of Production

Gilbert & Sullivan


Jeremy Shoesmith

Musical Director

Adam Boniface


Jeremy Showsmith


Author: Jacqui Hartley

Heckmondwike Players are going from strength to strength, Cleckheaton Town Hall is a difficult venue for any production, but the players coped extremely well, they even had part of a Galleon on stage which they managed to move on and off.

I thought the orchestra sounded a little thin during the overture with the  musical arrangement for a reduced band, but once the show started you forgot all about it and found it was a great accompaniment to the production.

This was a most enjoyable and crafted production, it kept the audience totally absorbed throughout.  I think "Pirates' is the most popular Gilbert and Sullivan Opera, it was a shame to see the hall half empty, it certainly deserved more 'bums' on seats.

A charming Mabel (Helen Wrigglesworth) sang beautifully along with her Frederic (Richard Armstrong), they made a delightful pair of engaging lovers.  Frederic gave a polished performance, great singing, good acting, pulling out all the laughs were necessary.

As the Pirate King (Gareth Jones) bounded on to the stage looking like the very evil pirate he was supposed to be, he and Ruth (Sheelagh Wood) made a great pair of villians.  Their trios in the second act along with Frederic were very well performed.

The Major-General Stanley (Ian Fryer) such a contrast to last year's performance, when he played the evil "Mr Jekyll/Mr Hyde", he gave an incredible performance with the patter song, his clarity of his words was excellent.

The three Daughter's Edith, Kate and Isabel put a great deal into establishing their characters, they were backed by a good chorus with strong singing and plenty of innovative movement.

Two good sets, especially the second act, along with lovely lighting.  Well done