PREVIEW: The Pirates of Penzance – GASP

If you’re in Bembridge in late September, watch out – the Pirates are coming! Bembridge Village Hall is ringing with the sound of Gilbert and Sullivan’s arguably most popular comedy operetta, ‘The Pirates of Penzance’ performed by GASP. Poor Frederic has been apprenticed as a pirate in error by his hard of hearing nursemaid Ruth, but his apprenticeship is coming to an end as he reaches his 21st birthday – or does he? The Pirate King is determined to keep Fredric on board – quite literally – and to force all the Major General’s daughters to marry his pirate band against their wishes. Horror! – as the girls rightly say.

The cast taking some shore leave at Pirates Cove, Shanklin.

GASP is the theatrical new kid on the block – formed last year by Andrew Wilson Jenner in response to many calls for a G&S show on the Island, Gilbert and Sullivan Productions launched in February with a sell-out evening of musical entertainment, while Pirates of Penzance, its first full scale production, has attracted a cast of approaching fifty talented and experienced actors and singers.

The cast taking some shore leave at Pirates Cove, Shanklin.

Under Andrew’s expert direction, supported by choreographer Ruth Anderson, the talented and experienced cast are already looking and sounding amazing. The music, including some well known and loved songs, is skilfully directed by Steve Burton and performances will be accompanied by a live orchestra. Island songstress Hanna Nixon, famous for her uncannily accurate musical tributes to Marilyn Monroe and Judy Garland, is in fine voice as Mabel, while Frederic is portrayed by the strong tenor voice and comedy talent that is Rob Bingham. John Abraham swashbuckles his way across the stage as the Pirate King, with his sidekick Samuel, played by Mike Palette, and Paul Stevens brings his celebrated voice and experience to the role of the Major General. Di Aspinall brings her comic talents to the role of Ruth while her real life husband Barry commands as the Chief of Police. Supporting them is a large cast of talented actors and singers, just waiting to entertain you.

So whether you are the very model of a modern major general, or believe a policeman’s lot is not a happy one – or just want to see if Frederic and Mabel’s love will triumph over the plots of the Pirate King and his evil band (or have they just gone astray??), come along to Bembridge and enjoy the fun. ‘Pirates of Penzance’ is staged on 23rd and 24th September at 7.30pm and 25th at 2.30pm. We have been surprised by an early sell-out, but have released a limited number of dress rehearsal tickets so please do call the box office on 07841 950261 to enquire.

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