by Lorraine Payette, written June 30, 2015
Show shots by Jay Kopinski
“Take any heart – take mine!”
– Mabel, “The Pirates of Penzance”
(Gananoque, ON) A gang of ruthless pirates/rum runners have landed in Gananoque and are out to steal your hearts at the Springer Theatre from June 19 until July 18. Well, not exactly Ruth-less, for without their dear, slightly addled Ruth (Shelley Simester) there would be no story.
As we enter the tale, we are about to celebrate Frederic’s (Adam Charles) 21st and it is she who tells us how it all began. A loyal, loving nurse, she only tried to follow her employer’s wishes and apprentice young Frederic as a pilot. But, being hard of hearing, she apprenticed him instead as a pirate, and so began his life of crime, running rum with the most tender-hearted pirates in the world as they go up against the American prohibition and the zaniest Coast Guard around.
The operetta is filled with the genius of Gilbert and Sullivan, from the Modern Major General’s song (adjusted to fit local history, customs and sense of humour) to the challenging weather song, a bit of whimsical chit-chat designed to test and show off the gifts of the women’s chorus. Light hearted and humourous, it touches on many things we find important and many that we don’t, giving us a chance to laugh with the players and at ourselves. Prepare yourself for a bevy of bathing beauties, a scurvy lot of pirates, and a bumbling Coast Guard all intent on filling your experience with joy.
Perhaps the most interesting performances are those of the “old people” in the cast – Ruth (who is in her 40s!) and the Major General (W. Joseph Matheson), father of many beautiful but ditsy daughters. Their confidence and skills are a delight, and the end result is pure magic.
A well assembled cast and great material make this production a joy to watch, and you’ll find yourself heading home humming the tunes and trying a dance step here and there.
Sophie (age 7) and Maria (6) both fell in love with the Pirate King (Eric Morin), while Jason (9) was ready to join the pirates any time.
“It’s a wonderful show,” said Lois Creed, 90, of Dexter, NY. “The changes in the script fit perfectly, and the performances were lovely. Gilbert and Sullivan would be proud.”
“The Pirates of Penzance” will be running at the Springer Theatre in Gananoque from June 19 – July 18. Show times are Tuesday through Saturday 8:00 pm, with matinees Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday at 2:30 pm (starting the Sunday after opening night). Tickets are $32 for adults, $30 for seniors age 65+, $20 for <30 Club, $16 for students, with a half price preview on June 19 (HST will be added to all prices). Perimeter seating is $27 and group tickets are available at $26 – $28 each. Running time for the show is about 2 hours and 30 minutes including intermission. This show is recommended for people of all ages. For more information, please go to http://www.1000islandsplayhouse.com or contact the box office at 613-382-7020.