When given the opportunity to do something fun with a friend or family member, there are many options to choose from. Dinner, a movie or sports event are usually viable options. However, at the Edward Milne Community Theatre, for the first three weekends in November, there is a rare opportunity to see an event that will mark another plateau of achievement for Sooke Harbour Players; Gilbert and Sullivan’s Pirates of Penzance.
The opera’s official premiere was at the Fifth Avenue Theatre in New York City on Dec. 31, 1879, where the show was well received by both audiences and critics. The Pirates of Penzance London debut was on April 3, 1880, at the Opera Comique, where it ran for a very successful 363 performances, having already been playing successfully for over three months in New York.
The story concerns Frederic, who, having completed his 21st year, is released from his apprenticeship to a band of tender-hearted pirates. He meets Mabel, the daughter of Major-General Stanley, and the two young people instantly fall in love. Frederic finds out, however, that he was born on Feb. 29, so technically, he only has a birthday each leap year. His apprenticeship indentures state that he remains apprenticed to the pirates until his 21st birthday, and so he must serve for another 63 years. Bound by his own sense of duty, Frederic’s only solace is that Mabel agrees to wait for him faithfully.
The SHP version of this production proudly displays some fantastic local talent, with ages from 14 to the mid-70’s, bringing some well-desired experience to the world of local theatre. Directors Linda Abraham and Lisa McCormack, seasoned experts in the pirates production, have established a brilliant working relationship with musical director Robyn Cathcart from the Royal Conservatory of Music in Victoria. This highly skilled, energetic director with over 25 years of experience, is already acquiring a reputation in Sooke for establishing extremely high musical standards; all while watching the members of the cast fall in love with the music.
Marjorie Baskerville, an experienced vocalist and musical director from previous productions (Jesus Christ Superstar – 2005), provides excellent support and guidance to the production team with all aspects of the show’s execution.
With nearly 50 cast, crew, and production team members, this musical promises to be the best yet.
Show dates are Nov. 4 to 6, 12 to 13 and Nov. 18 to 20. Friday and Saturday evening shows start at 7 p.m,. and Sunday matinees start at 2 p.m..
Tickets, available online at: www.sookeharbourplayers.ca, are $20 for adults and $12 for children and seniors.
Whether you are a dedicated fan of Gilbert and Sullivan, or new to the entire Pirates of Penzance experience, the end result is the same. A small amount of money spent will result in a magical, enlightening musical experience from a proud, hardworking group of folks from this Sooke community.
Not something you want to miss.
Contributed by Joe Scheubel
Sooke Harbour Players