The University of Exeter’s production of The Pirates of Penzance was a great success. It is a wonderful comic opera, and also a brilliant satire, on the snobbish values of the late Victorian era.
The huge cast clearly loved every moment of it. Young maidens flew on and off the stage with the skill of bloated birds showing off their feathers. This show was directed with the utmost precision by Amy Collins.
Like all comic opera and farce, the plot is complicated. Jonathan Wood’s young hero Frederick was in top form. Unfortunately, this young man was apprenticed to a pirate crew, a gang organised by the dashing pirate king, supposedly, until his 21st birthday.
However, due to an error made by his nurse, it turned out that poor Frederick was only five and a quarter! Plots were devised to release Fred from the pirates, and in the meantime the young man fell in love. His beloved Mabel, played by Nicola Wilkes, not only had an amazing voice, but was able to flirt outrageously with her audience! In stark contrast to this was the bitterness of Lucy Harrison’s Ruth.
Finally, I was most impressed by the meticulous performance given by Daniel Morris, as Major General Stanley; better known as ‘Pa’ to his bevy of beautiful maidens who were utterly delightful in their roles.
Congratulations Exeter University!
By Maxine O’ Reilly
Tickets cost from £10 to £16. Call 01392 493493 or visit www.exeternorthcott.co.uk