REVIEW: Pirates of Penzance at New Theatre Royal, Portsmouth

Pirates of Penzance at New Theatre Royal, Portsmouth
Pirates of Penzance at New Theatre Royal, Portsmouth
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It’s amazing that a show which opened in 1879 can still bring joy and laughter to audiences today.

Add the talents of UPDMS’ young cast, producer Barnaby Lawrence, choreographer Eleanor Harvey and the university orchestra to the still-relevant lyrics and beautiful music of Gilbert and Sullivan, and you have a hit.

The colourful pirates enter in rollicking style with strong vocals and tight choreography. Both Jack McGill as the Pirate King and Tom White as Samuel are strong singers with great stage presence – particularly White, whose every action was worth watching.

Anna Thompson grabbed our sympathy as the ageing Ruth, portraying the age gap well. Frederic is a challenging role that Dylan Faulkner took in his stride, making his earnest young man torn between love and his sense of duty, convincing.

Beautiful costumes blended with imaginative, crisp movement produced dazzling scenes from the girls’ chorus, topped by the lovely voice of Sophie Morgan as Mabel – a challenging role full of vocal acrobatics, delivered with consummate ease. Andrew Green as Major-General Stanley dealt with the tongue-twister Modern Major-General with style; his antics and facial expressions a joy.

The police, with Bradley Curran as the Sergeant, were delightful, with excellent characterisation and every move perfect.

The large orchestra was well controlled by MD Colin Jagger and never overwhelmed the singers. There was so much life and unbridled enjoyment in this infectious performance.