Review: EUSOG in The Pirates of Penzance

SENSITIVE pirates, cowardly police officers and a bevy of beauties, that old Gilbert and Sullivan classic is back once again.

Wednesday, 16th March 2016, 9:57 am
Updated Wednesday, 16th March 2016, 10:38 am
EUSOG perform The Pirates of Penzance

* * * *

The Pleasance Theatre

Faithfully reproduced by the Edinburgh University Savoy Opera Group, the 22-strong cast delivered a spirited performance full of verve and good humour at the Pleasance Theatre last night.

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The tatty costumes and unimaginative stage set may be a tad uninspired, but if the production lacks fails design-wise, it more than makes up for in self-confidence and commanding performances.

Accompanied by an exquisitely tuneful 12-piece orchestra - no sharp-sounding violins or flat cellos here - there was just as much to please the ear off the stage as there was on it.

Unlike some am-dram productions, the young academics have got the casting spot on.

Tom Whiston (Frederic) has the right amount of charisma and singing prowess to charm his fair maiden Mabel (played by fairy-like Goddess Caoilainn McGarry), as the apprentice Pirate who becomes painfully aware of what a Leap Year actually entails.

Nathaniel Forsyth on the other hand, brings a touch of both Adam Ant and Russell Brand-like Dandy to the Pirate King.

Zorbey Turkalp, meanwhile, has a grand lower register to match the ‘Big Jessie’ demeanour of his Sergeant of Police character.

Second year computer science undergraduate James Strahan turns in a terrific tongue-twisting performance as Major General.

He looks more like a Laird than a Major in his game-keeper threads, still his wee comedic facial quirks make him a chief standout whenever he enters the fray.

Operatically, there’s not too wide a contrast in the quality of the singers. Okay, there are a couple of stumbles here and there, and occasionally the volume rises and falls, nevertheless, this uni troupe have managed to instil a lovable sense of zany humour into their work.

Now, if they could only sort out the costumes and stage set they’d be onto a real winner.

Run ends Saturday