14 October 1999 | Tesse
One of Gilbert and Sullivan's finest, this production of The Pirates of Penzance shows off the wonderful hilarity of the book and music. Frederic (the very funny Jeff Hyslop), an honourable boy accidently indentured to a pirate instead of a pilot, has fulfilled his term of servantude, and now wishes to "exterminate" his former friends. He falls in love with the silly Mabel (Caralyn Tomlin), but when his old band of pirates come to kidnap Mabel's sisters, her father tells a lie to save them. As Frederic raises a police force to attack the pirates, he learns a shocking secret that will force him to rejoin his enemies and give up Mabel forever! But through some silly plot contrivances, everything ends happily.
This video recording of the live Stratford Shakespeare Festival production is ideal: all of the dance numbers are filmed from far enough away to show off the whole body, the acting is wonderfully and appropriatly silly, and all of the actors are excellently cast (I did feel bad for Pat Galloway; her Ruth was constantly being overshadowed by Hyslop and the incomprable Brent Carver, and she did do a very good job). The added lines and verses make the zaniness even more delightful, and the choreography works wonderfully. All in all, this would be a perfect recording of the stage play if the sound weren't so off: I had difficulty understanding some of the lines, and it was not due to poor enunciation. The sound system of the theatre must not have been up to snuff that night. Otherwise, a very enjoyable movie that is not inappropriate for children, and that parents can appreciate as well.