After a successful run last summer at Southwark’s Union Theatre, Sasha Regan’s boisterous, all-male cast relocate to the East End for a riotous evening.
With a score that makes no concession to all the female characters being played by men, some truly impressive falsettos are on display.
Nowhere is this more apparent than with Alan Richardson’s Mabel, who delivers an astonishing performance with a range and precision that many a woman in the same role would die for.
With so much vocal excellence throughout, Fred Broom’s Major General disappoints in his signature solo, lacking the precision or diction that the number demands. He has no deficiency in comic delivery, however, and both he and Samuel J Holmes as Ruth manage to bring an emotional depth that other productions sometimes lack. Indeed, while Holmes’ portrayal of the lovelorn nurse is the closest this production comes to pantomime, he also provides a heartbreaking conclusion to the end of act one.
Reprising his role as Frederic, Russell Whitehead makes for a heroic leading man, heading up a company that works their hardest to wring the maximum amount of comedy from Gilbert and Sullivan’s work.
The comedy extends to Lizzie Gee’s choreography, which brings in much fast-paced, unspoken wit to match the libretto.
_Reviewed for [The Stage](http://www.thestage.co.uk/reviews/review.php/27876/the-pirates-of-penzance)_
Wilton’s Music Hall, London, April 8-May 16
Authors: WS Gilbert and AS Sullivan
Director: Sasha Regan
Producer: Regan De Wynter, in association with Wilton’s Music Hall
Cast includes: Russell Whitehead, Alan Richardson, Ricky Rojas, Fred Broom, Samuel J Holmes, Michael Burgen
Choreography: Lizzie Gee
Musical direction: Chris Mundy
Running time: 2hr 20mins