Reviewed by Paula Citron
The Pirates of Penzance
Toronto Operetta Theatre
Music by Arthur Sullivan
Lyrics and book by W.A. Gilbert
Conducted by Robert Cooper
Directed by Guillermo Silva-Marin
Performed by Jessica Cheung, Ryan Harper, Christopher Wilson, Jean Stilwell, David Ludwig and David Ludwig
Jane Mallett Theatre
Apr. 27 to May 1, 2011
Toronto Operetta Theatre knows how to have a rollicking good time. A case in point is The Pirates of Penzance, where director Guillermo Silva-Marin devised very busy stage action by turning every G&S song into its own lively production number.
Robert Cooper was a very fine G&S conductor, adding in interesting Rossini-like crescendi, and modulating his tempi.
Tenor Ryan Harper as Frederic just had the right touch of simplicity, and sang beautifully. Jessica Cheung as Mabel is certainly an accomplished coloratura soprano with a cute personality, but her diction when singing was nil. Diction is improving, especially among the men.
Mezzo-soprano Jean Stilwell looked too good as Ruth in her foxy trouser pirate costume. Her hair wasn’t grey, nor is she plain of face as the song indicates. In fact, she was a snappy-looking redhead.
Bass-baritone Christopher Wilson as the Pirate King, and baritone David Ludwig as Major-General Stanley gave terrific performances, both in acting and singing.