After my little disappointment at the production of Mikado earlier this year, I went along to this semi austere production, knowing what to expect. But while it was a pleasant way to spend the evening, I didn’t leave the Barbican feeling euphoric.
The singing was very good and it was lovely to hear a blend of different voices in this production. The best singing voice and acting had to go to Rebecca Bottone who played Mabel. I first came across her at a Barbican’s New Year’s Eve concert and thought she was magnificent then and she certainly didn’t disappoint in The Pirates of Penzance. Her comic timings were spot-on and the audience loved the way she used her voice for comic effects.
Amongst the male singers, the best one was Alistair McGowan who was the Pirate King. There were some lovely touches in this production; one such was half of the male chorus were dressed as pirates while the other half as policemen. The three male pirates and the pirate maid, Ruth, often re-enacted the front of a ship with clever body movements.
But despite the lovely singing and some of the comic effects, I probably won’t go along to another production like this. As I was leaving the theatre, a very disappointed woman spoke out loudly, ‘This is the most amateurish production I have ever seen in my life’. Her observation may be a bit harsh but this isn’t what I will call a superb value for the price of the tickets at the Barbican.
The Pirates of Penzance was on at the Barbican on 12 March.