Posts Tagged ‘Pirates of Penzance’

Pesky pirates, pusillanimous police, pretty poppets!

Pirates of PenzanceThe Pirates of Penzance brings you all these, and more, thanks to the Gilbert & Sullivan Society of Austin.

Look forward to an accomplished chorus, an expert 19-piece orchestra, and vocal music of distinguished quality from each of the lead and featured singers. Every comedic bit is carried out so well that it elicits outright laughter from the entranced audience.

If you don’t know the story, it won’t be spoiled for you here. Just remember, though, that “pilot” and “pirate” can sound very much alike. Thanks to the wonderful acoustics of the venue and also to the assistance of the supertitles above the stage (to aid in understanding when the tempo is breakneck), there’s not the least difficulty in hearing all and following every little twist and turn of the plot (there is one and it’s complicated).

The Father’s Day Sunday performance was attended by many, many children, who sat rapt and thoroughly engaged. Not one family departed during the intermission; all remained for the entire performance, which is quite a testimonial to the delight afforded to all ages.

In the Worley Barton Theater every seat is a good seat; there are no bad ones. Every seat enjoys an excellent view. Every member of the audience hears every note well, enjoying to the fullest not only the clever comic songs, but the rousing pieces and the sweetly sentimental numbers as well. This production is theater at its finest and music so wonderful that a person listening only and not seeing a bit of the spectacle would nonetheless be privileged beyond compare.

There’s a lively printed program. The cast bios are most entertaining, and so are the candid images of cast rehearsals.

The house was full. All advance tickets appeared to have been sold, and additional seats were brought in for those who arrived planning to buy tickets at the door.

Five performances remain. You owe it to yourself to attend at least one. You will smile, you will laugh, you will be thoroughly happy during the show, and for many, many days afterward.

Hail, hail to piracy

Austin Gilbert & Sullivan Pirates of Penzance Only two performances remain, one tonight at 8 o’clock and one tomorrow afternoon at 3 o’clock. Today’s matinee performance of The Pirates of Penzance was dedicated to children. Even after a precurtain show of costume-making, balloon-twisting, and swordplay, most of the kids, some of them very young, lasted well for the entire performance.

The production puts a grand chorus of 18 singers on the stage, each capable of a solo turn, and a delightful and professional 15-piece orchestra in the pit. These shows are at the performing arts center at Crockett High, 5601 Manchaca. I’ve been to a performance there once before, but a long time ago. The acoustics best those at the new Long Center, if you ask me (not that anyone has!). Everything is audible and very natural-sounding.

The Austin Gilbert & Sullivan Society is an organization of volunteers. Generous gifts from stout local supporters pay for the orchestra, I believe, and many are those who vie for the featured roles. Those selected to fill them did an admirable job.

Even with all the small children there, which some (not I) consider to be a drawback, the house was nearly full. Buying a ticket at the door is very informal and refreshments are available. There’s lots to incite laughter and the many sentimental and affecting tunes do their work as well. Remember; it will be another year before the next big performance comes around. Don’t miss your chance to enjoy this one.

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