UP THE aisle come the shouting Pirates of Penzance brandishing their swords and cutlasses. They tear down the skull and cross-bone curtains on the Bembridge Village Hall stage and the fun begins.
The Pirate King, the talented and funny John Abraham of princely build, and all his energetic mates sing a toast to Frederic, played by Rob Bingham, to mark his birthday and the end of his apprenticeship — except it emerges Frederic was meant to be a pilot, not a pirate. Oh dear! The maid Ruth misheard.
So starts the craziest plot ever. The pirates always free any orphans they attack. Frederic has never seen any girls in his life. Now he’s going to meet 14!
Their father Major General Stanley, played wonderfully by Paul Stevens, is the very model of a modern major general and capable of singing tricky rhymes and rhythmic riddles.
And to escape the wroth of the pirates when he won’t let them touch his daughters, he calls himself an orphan — a lie he’s going to regret.
Frederic falls in love with one of the daughters, Mabel, and even though the police, whose lot is definitely not a happy one in spite of their marvellous singing and costumes, are called out to fight the pirates who turn out to be Peers of the Realm.
All this while Frederic and Mabel show love conquers all.
Gilbert And Sullivan Productions, GASP, is an exciting new company dedicated to re-kindling the love of these comic operas on the IW.
What good direction by Andrew Wilson Jenner of the jaunty songs and amusing dialogue.
What a bringing together of music, choreography, staging, and presentation. And what superb singing.
Rob Bingham has a powerful tenor voice, and soprano Hanna Emily Nixon as Mabel hit the high notes beautifully.
Ruth the maid, Diane Aspinall, had just the sort of voice to tell us the plot, and the Sergeant of Police, Barry Aspinall, was definitely on the case.
The speed and beat and rhythm of the small orchestra led by Steve Burton was brilliant, and when the chorus by the stage joined in with the cast on stage, the sound and power was truly amazing.
This superb performance was magical — enough to make us all GASP!