Critique of The Pirates of Penzance
A new and original comic Opera by Messrs. W. S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan, entitled the "Pirates of Penzance, or Love and Duty. It is amazing how two dramatic writers have mastered the ability to amuse the public in such an original manner. This opera had its premiere on December 31, 1879, at the Fifth Avenue Theater in New York with Arthur Sullivan conducting. It opened on April 3, 1880, at the Opera Comique in London and ran for 363 performances.
When one thinks of Pirates of Penzance many tend to immediately recollect the movie depicted from this play. Visions of Kevin Kline playing the Pirate King, Linda Ronstadt playing Mabel, Angela Lansbury as Ruth and George Rose plays the Major-General. The adaptation of this script was very true to Gilbert & Sullivan style. Varying degrees of comedic breaks, action scenes, and dance sequences definitely kept my interest.
Although this play originated in 1879 the director did not seem to have any difficulty keeping the original historical plot and at the same time blending in a bit of modern themes and characteristics. Several words were added that weren't part of Gilbert's original script. It kept the adaptation novel and interesting.
Complete with lessons of courage and honor this play demonstrates with humor the lengths one man will go to in order to fulfill his dutiful and unusually contracted obligation.
In this case the participants were not quite as seasoned as those mentioned above. The play itself was quite clever and entertaining. Varying degrees of acting and vocal ability made for a very diverse cast. Meshing an 1879 play with Millennium type humor is no small feat. The scenes were concise; costumes were extremely original; and the cast was particularly enthusiastic. What imperfections may have occurred within the play was overshadowed by these above-mentioned strengths.
Comedic plays tend to be quite challenging. The ability to master the art of comedic timing is a rarity. The character analysis in this performance was descriptive where more emphasis was necessary to the story line and lingered a bit where more detail was not imperative to follow the direction of the characters. Overall the depth and examination each actor utilized for their own individual character was in line with the script they were given to work with.
Expecting to see a complete operatic performance due to the fact that several words were added that weren't part of Gilbert's original script it took some getting used to.
But while the words and music are essentially untouched, the choreographers and set designers...