WEATHER »

The Pirates of Penzance at Westmont

Gilbert and Sullivan Get an Exciting Revival


The operettas of Gilbert and Sullivan are ordinarily left to specialists, mostly light-opera groups who work their way through the repertoire over a period of years. While the benefits of such an “experts-only” approach are apparent, it tends to inhibit experimentation and limit audience appeal to the already converted. With this new version of The Pirates of Penzance, Westmont’s John Blondell and his marvelous cast and production team have shed nearly all the weight of precedent and created something as light, bright, and pleasing as one of the many helium-filled balloons that float across the stage in Danila Korogodsky’s brilliant scenography.

<b>AN OFFICER AND A SOPRANO:</b>  Megan Silberstein vamps while Ben Offringa salutes in <i>The Pirates of Penzance</i>.
Click to enlarge photo

Brad Elliott

AN OFFICER AND A SOPRANO: Megan Silberstein vamps while Ben Offringa salutes in The Pirates of Penzance.

Mak Manson would appear to have been waiting all his performing life to play Richard, the Pirate King, and he does so with gusto and wit. As Frederic, the pirate’s apprentice, Ben Offringa brings the right touch of absurdity to his character’s dutiful responses to some truly outrageous reversals of fortune. In the crucial role of Mabel, Megan Silberstein is radiant, singing the bravura passages in a rich, clear soprano while never losing the thread of her character’s place in the plot. Paige Tautz makes a great and forceful Ruth, and Connor James Bush gets some of the night’s biggest laughs as Major General Stanley.

The show’s single biggest triumph, however, has to be the wonderfully complex yet always entertaining and graceful choreography contributed by Victoria Finlayson. It’s consistently inventive, and the large cast has a ball with it, alternately prancing, marching, prowling, and parading around the theater until the audience is whipped into a properly Victorian frenzy. As the finale has it, “with all their faults, they love their Queen.”

To submit a comment on this article, email letters@independent.com or visit our Facebook page. To submit information to a reporter, email tips@independent.com.



Be succinct, constructive, and relevant to the story. Leaving a comment means you agree to our Discussion Guidelines. We like civilized discourse. We don't like spam, lying, profanity, harassment or personal attacks.

comments powered by Disqus
event calendar sponsored by:

You Solve It,’ City Tells County on Library Money Shortage

To avoid financial shortfall, city sends ball back to county's court.

Vigil for Victims in Palestine Held at Courthouse

Community gathers to protest injustice.

Stoker to Be Sworn into EPA Job

Former Santa Barbara County supervisor confirms his appointment as regional head of Environmental Protection Agency.

Live Stream of Channel Island Falcons Makes History

Webcam follows wild peregrine falcon family on the Channel Islands.

Sonos Informs Employees of Potential Layoffs

'Restructuring' could affect 96; how many in Santa Barbara unknown.