dfp_header_hidden_string

Get our free email newsletter with just one click

The Pirates of Penzance review at Savoy London

by -

This most operatic of Gilbert and Sullivan’s shows has been reworked by Steven Dexter, who directs it together alongside Peter Pan in repertory at the Savoy.

The show’s big name, Anthony Head, plays the Pirate King with great relishes and camps up delightfully. Sadly, when surrounded by classically trained singers, his voice is faint – at points almost inaudible – but he covers this weakness with bravado and a wonderful flying sequence during The Pirate King’s Song, presumably using the wires Peter Pan left behind.

Out-singing him are Hadley Fraser as Frederic, Elin Wyn Lewis as Mabel and Kathryn Evans as Ruth. Lewis in particular has a spectacular range, wonderfully demonstrated in her rendition of Poor Wandering One. Fraser is earnest as Frederic and plays the role straight, which delightfully contrasts the caricatures surrounding him. Evans enjoys the wordplay and sings well as Ruth, although her Act II performance is far superior to her Act I.

Comic characters are David Burt and Jack Chissick as the Sergeant of Police and the Major-General. Their standard of singing is not as high as the leads but they are carried through by the strength of the songs and some perfect comedic timing.

No one really disappoints in this show and it is the pirates of the title that provide most of the fun. They sing, they dance and they break into modern jazz routines at inopportune moments. The success of the chorus carries the entire show and lifts it above individual performers into an evening enjoyable for all – even those who would not consider themselves to be fans of the genre.

Production Information

Savoy, London, January 8-March 20

Author
Gilbert and Sullivan
Director
Steven Dexter
Producer
Raymond Gubbay, Savoy Theatre
Cast includes
Anthony Head, Kathryn Evans, Jack Blumenau, David Burt
Running time
2hrs 15mins

We need your help…

When you subscribe to The Stage, you’re investing in our journalism. And our journalism is invested in supporting theatre and the performing arts.

The Stage is a family business, operated by the same family since we were founded in 1880. We do not receive government funding. We are not owned by a large corporation. Our editorial is not dictated by ticket sales.

We are fully independent, but this means we rely on revenue from readers to survive.

Help us continue to report on great work across the UK, champion new talent and keep up our investigative journalism that holds the powerful to account. Your subscription helps ensure our journalism can continue.

Subscribers to The Stage get 10% off The Stage Tickets’ price
^