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G&S set sail with bland crew of pirates

PUBLISHED: 15:30 29 July 2009 | UPDATED: 17:14 16 August 2010

The Pirates Of Penzance is the second all-male Gilbert & Sullivan production at the Union Theatre and follows on from the big success of The Mikado, writes Edward Martyn.

The Pirates Of Penzance is the second all-male Gilbert & Sullivan production at the Union Theatre and follows on from the big success of The Mikado, writes Edward Martyn.

Russell Whitehead as Frederic, the youthful and unwilling member of a pirate gang, gives vent to his conflicting loyalties upon the ending of his unfortunate apprenticeship to this villainous gang of pirates.

A rather childish plotline allows G & S to explore the Victorian psyche and its preoccupation with duty versus pleasure and the haphazard events which twist people's lives in cruel ways.

WS Gilbert's witty lyrics should make today's songwriters blush, with his rich use of language and clever duets (especially Frederick and his amour Mabel (the golden voiced Adam Ellis), which grip the attention and delight the spirit. Alan Winner as the pirate king commands his crew of energetic, if rather dowdy, comrades in crime and impresses with his fine voice and charisma, but some regional accents would improve this rather too bland bunch of ruffians.

The Pirates of Penzance is at the Union Theatre, 204 Union Street SE1 OLX until August 8 Box office: 020 7261 9876. Tickets are £12 to 15.

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