Charles Court Opera’s The Pirates of Penzance is a mischievous mockery of stereotypes, exuding an ironic idiocy in to the turbulent seas of the play’s hopeless pirates. John Savournin’s excitable direction and choreography creates an explosive performance which sadly overwhelms the stage The King’s Head Theatre.
With sharp direction, highly paced performances, and a committed and talented cast, the production creates an event of jubilation and absurdity onstage
Kevin Kyle plays a loveable, love-struck prince, who is torn between logic and love, but it is Matthew Kellett’s infectious enjoyment as a crafty, cheeky and fun-loving pirate that demands the audience’s attention each time he bounces in to view. The ensemble mould the simplicity of Annie Loach’s set beautifully whilst constantly mocking their clichéd behavioural traits. With only a rocking chair, a bed, and a chest, the performers deftly craft and reshape their world, constantly moving between place and time to meet the demands of the story. With sharp direction, highly paced performances, and a committed and talented cast, the production creates an event of jubilation and absurdity onstage.
At times the intensity and volume of the cast, particularly General Stanley’s daughters, drowned the wit and irony of the lyrics. The characters display similar behavioural traits and energy levels throughout the performance, giving the production a somewhat overbearing sense of excitement. Ultimately, the undeniably slick and skilled delivery failed to escape the confines of a singular euphoric tone.
Thanks to a heightened state of impulsive positivity, CCO’s production reduces Gilbert & Sullivan’s comic masterpiece to a bizarre tale of an excitably useless group of pirates and maidens.
** (2 stars)
Runs until 29th September