“THE PIRATES OF PENZANCE” IS PERFECTION PERSONIFIED


BONNIE GOLDBERG

More than one hundred and thirty years ago, the writing team of Gilbert and Sullivan created a swashbuckling tale of pirates fierce and maidens fair, with an orphan lad who is mistakenly apprenticed to the dastardly crew due to an error by his hard-of-hearing nursemaid.

 

Come meet Frederic, a duty bound all-around nice guy portrayed by Ryan N. Phillips, who because of his nursemaid Ruth’s mistake (Lynn McNutt), finds himself bound to the dashing Pirate King, a slick and suave Sean Martin Hingston, and his crewmates until Frederic reaches the prime age of twenty-one.

 

The Connecticut Repertory Theatre at the University of Connecticut at Storrs has produced a perfectly grand extravaganza of the magnificent operetta “The Pirates of Penzance” at the Harriet Jorgensen Theatre until Sunday, July 22.

 

The adventure on the high seas begins at Frederic’s birthday party when the pirates release him from his obligation to them, one that began at his age eight. His nurse Ruth begs to go with him, to marry him, but Frederic is ready to take on the world in general and female feminine dames in particular. When a bevy of beautiful maidens, all sisters in pretty pastels with parasols, led by Mabel, a vivacious Diane Pheban, sashay by Frederic is off and running, running after them.

 

The Pirate King and his men also set their sights on the maids and agree they would be merry to marry. The girls’ father, the Major-General, a mighty impressive Steven Hayes, has other ideas and works to stop the nuptials. Frederic receives some incredibly bad news from the pirates, after he has hired a troupe of keystone-like cops to roust them, led by the Sergeant of Police, a fleet-footed Alex Gibson.

 

Combine the clever lyrics with the incredible fancy footwork, choreography by Cassie Abate, the sparkling fashions designed by Olivera Gajic, the mood lighting by Greg Purnell, the scenic design atmosphere created by Michael Anania, the music directed with verve by NDavid Williams and the imaginative and special direction by Terrence Mann and you have a delightfully dazzling daring-do that should not be missed.

 

For tickets ($10-42), call the CT Rep, Hillside Road, Storrs, at 860-486-2113 or online at www.crt.uconn.edu. Performances are Tuesday -- Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.

 

Put a talking parrot on your shoulder, a patch over your left eye, cut the air with a long silvery sword and grab a bottle of rum to enjoy the treasures of “The Pirates of Penzance” in all its swashbuckling splendor.

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