Pirates set sail once more
JOIN the Gilbert & Sullivan Society of WA in celebrating its 70 years with a grand-old birthday production of one of the world’s most loved musicals, The Pirates of Penzance.
Featuring a huge cast and an orchestra of more than 50 talents, set sail on the high seas for a swashbuckling tale that will take you on a comic adventure of swagger, deception, incompetence and love gone terribly wrong.
Postponed since 2020 due to the pandemic, the production is helmed by G&S veteran director Alan Needham and musical director Michael Brett.
“This is an unashamedly traditional production that aims to give an authentic G&S experience without too much gimmickry,” Alan said.
“The cast is excellent — 10 fine principals and a chorus of 24 great voices — there’s wonderful tunes, genuine romance, and a style of wit and humour that makes people laugh at themselves.”
“To be MD for The
Pirates of Penzance in such an auspicious year for the society is a great thrill and just plain fun,” Michael added. “The music is fun, the lyrics are fun, and the storyline is just so ludicrous, it’s almost believable.”
Production manager Max Page OAM, who has been a member of G&S WA for more than 40 years, said that it was a thrill to be able to perform in the theatre again.
“After being marooned for a year, we are excited to be heading back to the theatre, fingers crossed,” he said. “There’s nothing like laughter and song to revive the spirits, and this sumptuous and hilarious production will shiver yer timbers and have you laughing (and speaking) like a pirate long after you leave the theatre.”
Famed since 1879, The Pirates of Penzance tells the hilariously implausible coming-of-age tale of a boy Frederic, who has been mistakenly apprenticed to a band of local pirates.
Now approaching his 21st birthday, Frederic is eager to celebrate the end of his pirate days, only to be told that, as he was born in a leap year, it is not over yet.
Adding to the drama, Frederic falls in love with Mabel, daughter of a retired major-general, much to the disapproval of his pirate mates and the local constabulary.
The cast includes some of the fabulous stars of G&S WA’s recent sold-out seasons of The Mikado and The Yeoman of the Guard, including Theodore Murphy-Jelley as The Pirate King, Chad Henderson as Frederic, and Belinda Cox as Ruth, alongside Magda Lisek as Mabel and Ronald Macqueen as “the very model of a modern” major-general.
Founded in 1951, The Gilbert & Sullivan Society of WA has produced more than 100 productions of Gilbert & Sullivan’s renowned contributions to musical theatre and worked with many illustrious WA singers, including Glenys Fowles AM, Sara Macliver, Emma Matthews, Aldo DiToro, Duncan Rock and Gregory Yurisich AM.
Founded by legendary D’Oyley Carte singer Bernard Manning, the society is supported by The Gilbert & Sullivan/AN Bullock Trust created in 1983 through the bequest of the late Arnold Bullock.
Over the past seven decades, the society has brought laughter and joy through the comedy and melody of W. S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan to generations of West Australians.
The society also offers a range of services and community involvement including its nationally acclaimed costume hire, annual production program, and community choir.
For more information, visit gilbertandsullivanwa.org.au. The Pirates of Penzance is at Dolphin Theatre, UWA, June 2–12. Book now at ticketsWA.com or call 6488 2440, noon–4pm, Monday to Friday.