The Pirates of Penzance

This show has now closed, click here for a listing of current and future London shows

Opened 18 February 2008, Closed 1 March 2008 at the Gielgud Theatre in London

The Carl Rosa Opera Company presents the Gilbert and Sullivan operetta The Pirates of Penzance in London for a strictly limited season of just 16 performances.

Orphaned pirates, flat footed policemen, a bevy of blushing maidens and the pretty daughter of Major General Stanley - all the ingredients for a fabulous recipe of Gilbert and Sullivan at their very best. Sullivan's ever popular and memorable score contains some of his most beautiful writing as Gilbert, in his most topsy turvy of all plots, leads us through the squashbuckling world of young Frederic, the Pirate apprentice, who was born on February 29th in a leap year and therefore won't be 21 and come of age until he is 84!

The cast for The Pirates of Penzance in London features Jo Brand as the 'Sergeant of Police', David Curry as 'Frederic', Sophie-Louise Dann as 'Edith', Deborah Myers as 'Mabel', Beverley Klein as 'Ruth', Steven Page as 'Pirate King' and Barry Clark as the 'Major-General'. It is directed and designed by Peter Mulloy with choreography by Steve Elias, lighting by Mark Doubleday and orchestra conducted by Richard Balcombe.

The Carl Rosa Opera Company's 2008 London Season at the Gielgud Theatre includes The Mikado from 30 January to 9 February 2008 and Iolanthe from 11 to 16 February 2008.

"Peter Mulloy's feisty period stagings of the Savoy Operas have proved beyond reasonable doubt that you don't need elaborate and gimmicky stage values to raise the necessary chuckles with these well-worn pieces. An experienced crew of singing actors and a strong sense of English eccentricity will do nicely... The comparative intimacy of a theatre like the Gielgud only adds to the period charm of these pieces, while the acoustic immediacy of a real theatre band really brings the vitality and gorgeousness of Sullivan's tunes home." The Independent

"To ask a rough-tongued television and stand-up comic, who admits to no singing voice, to stand alongside seasoned Gilbert and Sullivan professionals - well, that's asking for trouble... It's brave of Jo Brand to tackle a job she should not have been asked to do. And she's more than likely, as the run proceeds, to pump up her authority and fill in the vacant hole she often seemed on press night. No flatness elsewhere at least. The director-designer Peter Mulloy's production, completing the Gielgud's Carl Rosa Opera season, dances with dynamic groupings and the most fastidious, colourful period costumes possible on a modest budget." The Times

The Pirates of Penzance in London at the Gielgud Theatre opened on 18 February 2008 and closed on 1 March 2008.


The Pirates of Penzance - 2004

Previewed 6 January 2004, Opened 8 January 2004, Closed 20 March 2004 at the Savoy Theatre in London

Raymond Gubbay present's Gilbert and Sullivan classic The Pirates of Penzance in London starring Anthony Head and directed by Steven Dexter - playing in repertory with Peter Pan.

One of the best loved Savoy operas returns to its home stage in a lively new West End production. Rum and cutlasses at the ready for a night of toe-tapping, topsy-turvy entertainment! This is the rollicking tale of Frederic, a pirate apprentice, who was born on February 29 in a leap year and therefore won't be 21 until he's 84! Join him on his absurd escapades with the not quite so courageous Pirate King and the not quite as beautiful as she first seems, Ruth! Only in Gilbert's hilarious world could such a preposterous plot exist where swords are crossed with Major General Stanley, his very pretty daughters and a band of bumbling policemen.

Gilbert's unique tongue-twisting patter is set to Sullivan's most brilliant score of soaring melodies including The Modern Major General, Poor Wandering One, I am a Pirate King, Here's a First Rate Opportunity and A Policeman's Lot is Not a Happy One. This brand new production of The Pirates of Penzance at the Savoy Theatre promises a riotous evening of frivolity and romance that is sure to make this a special treat for both Gilbert and Sullivan devotees and novices alike.

The cast for this production of The Pirates of Penzance in London stars Anthony Head as 'The Pirate King' along with Hadley Fraser as 'Frederic', Elin Wyn Lewis as 'Mabel', Kathryn Evans as 'Ruth' and Jack Chissick as 'Major General Stanley'. The production is directed by Steven Dexter with designs by Francis O'Connor. Steven Dexter's other West End credits include La Cava (Victoria Palace Theatre 2000).

"Gilbert and Sullivan purists might be surprised, but this is a Joseph Papp-style Pirates, arranged as a West End musical by the conductor John Rigby. At least Gilbert's words remain more or less intact in Steven Dexter's brash, good-humoured staging in evocative, if low-budget, sets and colourful costumes by Francis O'Connor... The dance routines had bags of energy, and there was certainly not a hint of demure in the cancan, for which the ladies strip to their corsets and knickerbockers... The best performance is Kathryn Evans's Ruth - far too glamorous, yet timed with deadpan comic bravura. But sit well back from the stage if you don't want to be deafened by the amps." The Sunday Times

"Although it provides a decent, jolly evening's entertainment, a little more attention to the finer points could have lifted a passable potboiler into a genuine hit. Director Steven Dexter sets the operetta on the pier in Paignton. He updates to the Edwardian period and plays the story as a series of vaudeville turns and seaside frolics... It's all executed with plenty of whoopee and bravado, but none of it is terribly funny, ingeniously clever or even nonsensically coherent. Wit and subtlety aren't on the agenda, and the daintier aspects of Gilbertian humour get the deadening wham-bam treatment... John Rigby conducts the rearranged score with energy and, in its rough-and-ready way, it's all good fun. But that is more a tribute to the resilience of G&S's little masterpiece than to the talents of anyone involved on stage." The Daily Telegraph

The Pirates of Penzance in London at the Savoy Theatre previewed from 6 January 2004, opened on 8 January 2004 and closed on 20 March 2004 - played in repertory with Peter Pan.