‘The Pirates of Penzance’ is undoubtedly one of the most popular of all the Gilbert and Sullivan repertoires, and this weekend, The Grand Opera House welcomes the Pirates to Belfast. Huge stars of screen and stage have treaded the boards at Belfast’s Grand Opera House over the years. But this week the budding stars of the future will take over the prestigious venue as part of the venue’s Summer Youth Project , which is now in its 10th Year
All of the characters and songs from the iconic musical will be brought to life by a hugely talented cast of young people aged 10 to 18.
The story is so well known by many but if you have never seen it, it relays the story of the very innocent Frederick who is taught his Pirate apprentice skills by The Pirate King. It tells the tale of his time with the Pirates, wanting to leave whilst falling in love with Mabel.
There is without doubt some unique talent on stage – pirates Frederic (Richard Collins) The Pirate King (Robbie McMinn) and Samuel (Tyler Barr) were charismatic and do a fine job in leading the Pirates of Penzance through their paces
The daughter’s ensemble pieces were very pleasant to watch. With good vocal range and associated choreography, they performed to a high standard and demonstrated some nice characterisation of individual parts. With too many great performances to mention, Lucia McLaughlin soprano performance as ‘Mabel’ must get a special mention and would seem to have a future on stage for sure with her gorgeous voice.
The major general (Jackson Allen) had great comedic timing and good stage presence. The audience certainly seemed to find him hilarious to watch with diving flippers and rubber ring. The well-known, ‘I am the very Model’ is a challenging piece to sing and he effortlessly carried this off really well. Compare this tongue-twister to Mary Poppin’s “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious“. It’s one of the musical’s highlights. He absolutely nailed it.
The orchestra were very professional and consistent under the direction of Wilson Shields as was the different set designs provided a backdrop which the show deserved.
All in all, The Grand Opera House Summer Youth put on a very entertaining and professional performance – A night of Romance, thrilling choreography, madcap comedy and sublime singing as the cast takes you on a journey of fun, frolics and fantasy. I was worried my seven year old son was too young, but he loved it!