Concept Players present the Pirates Of Penzance 


By W.S. Gilbert & A. Sullivan


Paul had wanted to do a “different” Pirates – after all, is that not what Concept’s loyal audiences expect from us? We have had dancing toys, sailor mops and a department store showdown before so what would he do with this one? Well he wanted, as always to be true to the music and libretto (only a few cheeky one-liners were added) but in this emancipated age the usual giggling, simpering ladies chorus would have to go. And go it did. In came some Victorian ladies you would not mess with. Someone in the audience even noted the colours of the ribbon on the kite that was flown – green, violet and white – Give Votes To Women! These ladies were not bothered by dodgy pirates, even with their fancy costumes and menacing swords. They were fossil hunters, bookish types, but who were not afraid to enjoy themselves. They seemed to like jewels and beers on the beach in equal quantities.

The Pirate of Penzance

Paul wanted to embrace the warmth of this operetta and he opted for an end-of-the-pier revue feel. Hence the beautifully painted set which was obviously set, complete with moving waves and shell footlights. He worked closely with our set designer, Liz, who took his basic sketches and perfectly captured the period. Paul also worked hard with his wardrobe team, making sure the costumes all hung together – cool, crisp creams for the ladies complete with pith helmets and for the pirates, a riot of mismatched period looks brought together with colourful silk sashes, hats and pantaloons. And each of the dressing gowns in the second act was made by hand for the ladies. In true Scarlett O’Hara fashion, many curtains were used in their making. If the girls were feisty in general, there were three “girly” girls.Ellie and James as Mabel and Frederic Ellie Hoare, Cat Bailie and Cat Rose were the perfect Mabel, Edith and Kate. Ellie’s trills and coloratrua were magnificent in “Poor Wandering One” and her comic timing throughout, exquisite. Her short-sighted antics, however, did not stop her getting her man.

Played by James Osborne, Frederic was no real match for Mabel but he was a “Slave of Duty”. Their duet in Act 2 was a particular highlight of the show. The men’s colourful chorus was headed up by the impressive Pirate King, played by Kristian Zgorzelski, who is a new member of the Company but who has been close to many as he went to school with several of the cast. He has worked abroad in Egypt for many years and his return to theatre is to our advantage as he was commanding and funny, striding across the stage, belting out perfectly his signature song. He was ably abetted by our regular, Hayely Toms, as the put-upon Ruth. Aged up every night by latex make-up, she held her own as the feisty 47 year old with designs of her own. The two Cats, Bailie and Rose, were suitably supportive of Ellie, as Edith and Kate, though she is a better kite handler. Finally, bringing up the frontline was of course Major General Stanley, portrayed by Kevin Morgan; every night his knees got a suitable chuckle.

The Major General and Company

 This was, of course, our new MD’s first outing with us. Chris Fossey had been putting us through our paces since October and gave every cast member lots of support. Choreography was courtesy of our resident choreographer Adam Pitt, who again made sure the entire cast moved with purpose. The rest of the team of lights and sound ensured that this truly was a joyous production which we think came across those shell footlights in waves.


James as Frederic

James as Frederic

 The Pirate King has got he Gerneral's number!

The Pirate King has had enough of Major General Stanley

These three are up to no good!

A paradox indeed!

A Policeman's Lot!

A policeman's lot is not an 'appy one

Some of the ladies

She was always peckish

Swooning girls and Frederic

The "girly girls" and Frederic

The fossil and butterfly hunters

The intrepid ladies