The Pirates of Penzance

Date 3rd October 2012
Society Chesterfield Gilbert & Sullivan Society
Venue Pomegranate Theatre, Chesterfield
Type of Production Operetta
Director Jo Howland
Musical Director Andrew Marples
Choreographer Roseanna Sanderson


Author: Joyce Handbury

At the start of the performnce the Musical Director, Andrew Marples, entered the auditorium bedecked in a Union Jack Flag and instead of the usual National Anthem we were treated to a magnificent rendition from the nineteen piece orchestra of ‘Jubilee Fanfare’, composed by Andrew in honour of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. This, plus the Overture, set the stage for what was to be a a really exciting and fun evening. David Lovell was commanding and convincing as The Pirate King exuding charisma, gusto, passion and energy whenever he was on stage. He was well served by Samuel (his Lieutenant), well played by Raymond Hill in his first major role with the society, and his lively bunch of pirates who were flamboyantly dressed and in excellent voice. Frederick, the pirate apprentice, was played by Andrew Moore with great aplomb. His fine, clear singing was superb. The vocal talents of Rachael-Louisa Bray were outstanding and equally matched by her acting skills - she was deliciously delightful as lisping Mabel. Phil Aldred, as Major-General Stanley, performs with ease and gave an impeccable performance of the tongue twisting well known patter song ‘I am the very model....’. Loved him in his night-shirt complete with teddy bear!! First rate support came from daughters Kate (Phillippa Lockwood), Edith (Julie Currey) and Isabel (Helen Booker) helped along by the decorous, melodious ladies of the chorus, many being of a very youthful age which was lovely to see. Judith Hill as Ruth, gave a very high quality performance wringing every ounce of humour from the role. Her powerful singing voice was truly wonderful - and as for her little sword, well!!

One highlight of ‘Pirates’ is of course the appearance of the Sergeant of Police and his merry band of policemen and what a fine and motley crew they were. David Stokes led them in a splendid comedy routine his legs seemed to be made of rubber, it was hilarious. The splendid costumes, lovely sets with some very effective atmospheric lighting, fine singing from soloists and chorus members, imaginative and well executed choreography, a terrific orchestra all made for a vibrant, funny, action packed performance. Congratulations to everyone involved, especially to Jo Howland, in her first encounter as Director with the society.