Opening night of the Morpheus Theatre’s The Pirates of Penzance was a rollicking success. Gilbert & Sullivan‘s popular and timeless two act comic opera The Pirates of Penzance directed by Tim Elliott and Mike Johnson, is playing at Pumphouse’s Victor Mitchell Theatre from April 18 to May 3, 2014.
The merry gang of pirates invading the secluded Cornwall beaches are not quite what they seem. The soft-hearted, ill-adjusted ship’s crew faces a series of identity crises with unflagging optimism. With riotous scenes of sword-fighting and dance, the musical romp is fun-filled tomfoolery. Morpheus’ high-spirited cast with a mixture of seasoned and novice actors, played their likeable characters with gusto, warmth and energy.
Winnifred (Win) Hume as the sweet, beguiling and determined Mabel, made a sensational entrance with an elaborate and florid trilling in the famous challenging aria “Poor Wandering One.” Win played Mabel in 2008 where she met her future-husband who then played Frederic. Unger and Hume’s impressive performances were lively and cheerful, soulful and sweet.
Carey Unger played the role of the hero, Frederic, the twenty-one-year-old, lovesick but duty-bound pirate apprentice. As he leaves the Heist and his pirate life behind him, he becomes committed to eliminating piracy and convinces a not-too courageous band of police to help. Misunderstandings twist through the plot and he learns that he was never meant to be a pirate but a pilot, an error of pronunciation. Then he learns his 21st birthday will not be celebrated until 1941, not in 1879.
With his strong baritone voice that filled the theatre, James Noonan (Hobson 2014) played the swashbuckling- if sometimes conflicted- Pirate King with bravado.
It was obvious that baritone Allen Crowley enjoyed playing Major General Stanley. Personally, one of the highlights of the evening- which included the entire cast with a strong choral back-up, agile choreography with great comedic timing- was kilt-wearing Crowley’s martial march-hop as he triumphantly and skilfully interpreted the famous fast-paced, tongue-twisting Modern Major-General’s Song. When forced at sword point to continue singing, the Major General “improvised” with Crowley’s own made-in-Canada contemporary pattering parody to the delight of the Pumphouse audience.
In 1879 The Pirates of Penzance‘s world premiere was presented in the Fifth Avenue Theatre in New York.
The Morpheus Theatre repeats The Pirates of Penzance every six years, which began with their sold-out November 1996 season performances, followed by productions in April 2002, in March/April 2008 and currently in April/May 2014.
While in Italy on the family’s Grand Tour, the very young Gilbert was kidnapped for several hours then safely returned to his family (Eggold vi). He claimed to remember some of this event and it emerged as themes of identity crisis, children switched at birth and topsy-turvy sagas of duty and love in The Pirates of Penzance and Topsyturveydom (which Morpheus will present in 2015).
Spoiler: In the happy-ever-after ending the noble background of the orphaned pirates is revealed. Queen Victoria makes an entrance and they all become members of the House of Lords, suitable husbands for the daughters of the Major General.
Gilbert, W. S., Sullivan, Arthur. 1879. The Pirates of Penzance or The Slave of Duty.
Eggold, Marie. The Pirates of Penzance.” in The Pirates of Penzance or The Slave of Duty (Vocal Score). Treharne, Bryceson (Editor). Schirmer, G. pages x=xiii. ISBN:9780793525867
Eggold, Marie. “The Gilbert & Sullivan Partnership.” in The Pirates of Penzance or The Slave of Duty (Vocal Score). 1986. Treharne, Bryceson (Editor). Schirmer, G. The Pirates of Penzance or The Slave of Duty (Vocal Score). Schirmer, G. Editor. pages vi – ix.
Hobson, Louis. 13 April 2014. “Rollicking dream role for James Noonan in Morpheus’ Pirates of Penzance.” Calgary Sun Calgary, Alberta
July 24, 2013
In process: Google spreadsheet commodity market terms
Updating to new Google spreadsheets
July 18, 2013
January 8, 2013
The National Gallery of Canada gradually became morphed into my memory palace, a mnemonic device where social histories began to reveal themselves as one perspective merged into another. Renaissance perspective was too linear, too Hegelian for the way in which I wanted to revisit communal memories. I began to see the gallery spaces through an Escherian perspective where each art work opened into a panorama, a vista of social histories.
June 26, 2012
Watermind by M M Burkner 2008-11
The map traces place names in the novel but fiction and reality overlap at times. In The Economist. 2012-06-23. “Blooming horrible: Nutrient pollution is a growing problem all along the Mississippi.”
“On its long journey south the water has scooped up nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus, mainly from the fields of the Midwest. So much so that agriculture’s gift to the gulf is a “dead zone”. The excess nutrients cause algae to bloom, consuming all the available oxygen in the sea, making it hostile to other forms of marine life. Creatures that can swim away, such as shrimp and fish, do so; those that cannot, die. In the four decades since the dead zone was discovered it has grown steadily. Today it covers 6,700 square miles, an area larger than Connecticut (The Economist 2012-06-23).”
See wikipedia article on dead zones currently being updated.
Chicago and the Mississippi River Delta.