Gilbert and Sullivan's The Pirates of Penzance is as iconic as it gets - first performed in 1879, it has been constantly revived and updated over the course of three different Centuries. Sasha Regan's take on the classic story brings an all male cast into all of the roles to comic and sometimes brilliant effect.
This production was filmed at The Palace Theatre in London last December, inbetween Lockdown 2: Covid Never Dies and Lockdown 3: The Return Of The Variant, back in a time where theatres could open even if the seats surroundig you were emptier than a matinee of Viva Forever. This production takes you back to a simpler time - a time when you could freely go to the theatre and even makes you long nostalgically for the extremely weird time that was December 2020.
The Pirates of Penzance tells the story of pirate apprentice Frederic who falls in love with Mabel, the daughter of a very modern Major-General but the discovery of his birthday being on a leap year, making him only five years old, puts his relationship at risk. A problem so many of us have had... well, those of us who were born on February 29th.... maybe.
As you might have gathered by that description, this show isn't to be taken seriously. It is a harmless and inoffensive two hours of silliness - and isn't that exactly what we all need right now? Hilarious dialogue and slapstick humour is all present and is now joined with some lighthearted Covid references. The sense of fun on the stage is reminiscent of something you might see at The Play That Goes Wrong - the cast are clearly having the time of their lives, as are the present audience who are rolling in the aisles... while keeping two metres between each other of course.
The all-male cast includes Oliver Savile as charismatic as ever as the Pirate King and Alan Richardson showcasing a ridiculously impressive vocal ability as Mabel, with David McKechnie as Major-General Stanley and an utterly hilarious and standout turn from Leom Craig as Ruth who gets one of the best lines of the night with "I could have been at the Palladium with Julian Clary this Christmas". The chemistry between every cast member on stage leaps off the stage into the audience and on to the screen.
With classic songs on hand including 'I Am A Pirate King' and the classic Patter song 'I Am The Very Model Of A Modern Major-General', there will be moments of recognition. Even if you are not familiar with the songs, you will be completely won over by this presentation.
The Pirates Of Penzance highlights all the best theatre has to offer - that unrivaled sense of escapism and complete joy. Even the hardest hearted person would surely see their face break out into a rare smile watching this production. Expertly performed by a brilliant cast and cleverly adapted for modern times, this is the epitome of pure theatrical joy. If you're in need of a pick me up or looking for the perfect Easter treat for all the family as you can't take them to the theatre, this is the show for you.
The Pirates of Penzance is streaming until Monday 5th April on https://www.stream.theatre/season/26