Pirates Of Penzance
Regent's Park Open Air Theatre
This version of the venerated Gilbert and
Sullivan operetta originated through Joe Papp and
New York's Central Park. It was an immediate
success there so, after Broadway, West End and
film productions, it has returned to a park
And on fine nights a magical theatre it is too -
a natural amphitheatre surrounded by trees with
the stage shining hypnotically in the dusk. A
This souped-up and modernised adaptation, which
uses material from the writers' other shows and
even an Elvis impression, has been completely
re-cast by director Ian Talbot.
A shaven-headed Gary Wilmot as the Pirate King
and Su Pollard playing a man-chasing old maid
give the performance a distinct pantomime feel.
There is even a song sheet with a split singalong
audience and a hilarious squad of dancing
Since the colourful pirates are all spineless
bravado, ever ready to spare orphans, any cops
versus buccaneers fighting is of the knockabout
Aside from Wilmot and Pollard, there are three
other stand-out roles. David Alder as a blimpish
major-general scores with his contribution,
Joshua Dallas does nicely as the reformed pirate
turned hero and best of all is Karen Evans as his
Her voice soars higher than the mainmast -
clearly a girl with a future. Although relatively
unknown, she is a natural lead for musicals.
Compliments also to Giles Taylor and his gang of
feeble cops, the men sailing under the Jolly
Roger and the four young ladies in crinoline.