Viva Voce

Recent performances:

The Pirates of Penzance - Bartolomeu Dias Museum - Saturday 21 February - Mossel Bay

MOSSEL BAY NEWS - The Cape Town Gilbert & Sullivan Society's innovative production of The Pirates of Penzance at the Bartolomeu Dias Museum on Saturday 21 February was enthusiastically received by its Mossel Bay audience.
 
From the rousing opening Pirate Song and I Am a Pirate King on the decks of the Caravel, it was a feast of fun, wonderful music and all-round enjoyment, all in a uniquely suitable setting!
 
The producer had cleverly decided, in view of the lack of normal stage facilities, to cut out dialogue and let the songs speak for themselves, all held together by the introduction of a narrator, Ken Leverton, who when not narrating, joined the pirates – he did both his jobs admirably, with a touch of whimsy and a nice irony of tone, which served the story well.
 
The singing was of the highest standard and the chorus as well-schooled, as one would expect from this renowned and experienced society: it was established 68 years ago. Words were clear and the story line enhanced by WS Gilbert's wit and wisdom.
 
Highlights were numerous – the professionalism of the chorus-singing first and foremost; the rendition by Ian Kirkwood of the show stopper I am the very model of a modern major general flowing off his tongue without hesitation, the charming voice and appearance of Karen Wilson-Harris as Mabel, Neil Koekemoor a dutiful Frederic and the fine voice of Werner van Coller as The Pirate King – and Richard Whittaker, ex-Mossel Bay and well-known to many here: as the Sergeant of Police, Richard did himself proud. How good to hear him still in good voice and with an innate sense of comedy.
 
The policemen's Tarantara was hilarious. Musical director Alastair Cockburn conducted and Helen Broeksmann at the piano gave sterling accompaniment throughout.
 
That this operetta, first staged in 1880, is still winning hearts speaks clearly of the magic of Gilbert and Sullivan. The evening marked a milestone in the history of the Mossel Bay Arts Society – it was the first time it was a total sell-out, the first time tickets were sold at R120 and the first time that every single seat, 250 in all, was taken. 
The 40-plus members of the G & S Society were housed by various members of the community and to them, grateful thanks. As the audience filed out into a fine evening, there was a lightness of step and happy spark, which spoke volumes of the fun and utter enjoyment of the evening.