Pirates of Penzance - performed November 1988
By Gilbert and Sullivan
Performed with the kind permission of Music Theatre International
Cast(in order of appearance)
Production TeamVal Taylor, Viv Wheatley, Jude Hussey, Jenny Rollings, Val Williams, Bruce Emeny, Maurice Barber, Peggy Barber, Dennis Murfitt, Greg Garrad, Jack Hacon, Bill Chapman, Alison Brett, Allison Hawkins, Heather Steel, Jenny Glayzer, Tracey Amoss, Patience Ling, Viv Wheatley, and other volunteers not mentioned.
The MusicalIn The Pirates of Penzance, the young pirate apprentice Frederic is about to be freed from his indentured period. The honourable Frederic, who was mistakenly apprenticed to the pirates by his partially deaf nursemaid Ruth, has decided to leave the pirate life. Now a free man, Frederic leaves for the shore. Frederic, who has never seen a woman besides Ruth, instantly falls in love with Mabel, one of the daughters of Major-General Stanley. Soon though, the pirates arrive and want to marry the rest of Major-General Stanley's daughters. Major-General Stanley enlists the help of the police to stop the pirates. Frederic desires to help Major-General Stanley and the police protect the ladies, but soon he discovers that due to a technicality, he is still bound by duty to remain an apprentice to the pirates. All is well in the end when it is discovered that the pirates have noble blood and would in fact be suitable husbands for Major-General Stanley's daughters.
ReviewsDennis Murfitt, that unabashed trawler in every reach of theatrical waters, has come up with a resounding – and I choose the word advisedly – success in this cheerfully tongue-in-cheek voyage through one of the most popular of the Gilbert and Sullivan operettas. Using every lasting inch of the tiny stage with its composite, all-purpose set of cannon-bristling schooner and ruined chapel, he peoples the levels with a colourful array of characters that, individually or collectively, give out a rich, full-throated resonance to fill the auditorium with wave after wave of pleasurable sound. Bruce Emeny’s splendid lighting suffuses clever costumes with rainbow hues and Patience Ling on piano and Greg Garrad on percussion, lead and follow with sympathetic understanding as well as high technical ability.
Bernie Brindley’s left-handed Pirate King swashes and buckles with great glee and gusto in a towering performance,
enhanced by swaggering presence and striking good looks and Bill Chapman makes him an effective lieutenant as Samuel
Duncan Steel, the “slave of duty” is handsome, fresh-faced and full of good intent as the Pirate apprentice, Frederic,
and if the voice complies with the modern pre-occupation with nasality and strangulated delivery at the expense of
melodic quality, he is very much a follower of fashion.
I find is quite astonishing that a group of amateurs can stage such a breathtaking show as this spectacular
production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s operetta.
Some years back, I was at another of the Manningtree-based group’s plays when the person sitting beside me, on
discovering I was a journalist, took great delight in suggesting that, as I had a free ticket, I would not give a
There were times, with everyone on stage, the audience could be forgiven for worrying the flooring of the
tiny theatre might give way as the cast romped its way through the swashbuckling yarn.
Produced and directed by Dennis Murfitt, the story had comedy, romance and drama. With everyone pulling their weight
to would be wrong to single out any stars but perhaps the bouquets on this occasion should go to the two musicians –
Patience Ling and Greg Garrad, who were working for most of the 90-minute performance.
It was the first of the Manifest’s productions for the 1988-89 season and, now they have proved there is nothing
they will not tackle, their faithful followers will already be looking forward to February.
Photo ShootIf you have any photos from this production, then please let us know.