Probably the funniest, most talented by many standards performance from SMTD that I’ve seen in my time here, The Pirates of Penzance was full of absurdity, puns, and laughter, just as Gilbert and Sullivan intended.
From the very first second once the curtain rose, the bright and defined set, with its water and moving pirate ship, set the expectations high. And right away, Commodore C. Primous III’s appearance as the Pirate King exceeded those expectations. His facial expressions, body language, grand movements, and flippant words all felt eccentrically alive on that stage, instantly captivating everyone’s attention and love. Jacob Ryan Smith was a handsomely ignorant yet loyal Frederic, his lack of knowledge for what he desperately desired driving the show forward. However, the female cast members arguably carried the show. Both Nina White’s performance as Ruth and Lauryn Hobbs’s performance as Mabel gave me chills. Their vocal prowess, humorous delivery, and enticing acting truly left me in awe.
Each group of performers were magnificently fabulous with their own defining characteristics. The tough (with a soft spot for orphan) pirates; the beautiful, curious daughters; the incompetent, bumbling, yet extremely talented tap dancing police officers—they all shined on the stage, each individual cast member contributing an extra flavor of personality to the stage.
It’s hard to highlight some favorite moments of the show because of the extraordinary energy that carried through every moment. However, certain instances do stand out due to the extreme talent and sheer joy that they brought. The Major General’s show-stopping number, “I Am The Very Model of a Modern Major-General,” elicited much delight from everyone. Wilson Plonk completely rocked that song, his precise and articulate rapid singing blowing everyone out of their seats. Once his daughters and the pirates joined in for some insanely fast and insanely in-sync choreography, I didn’t realize I was holding my breath through that entire sequence until there was a break in the dancing. Words can’t describe the admiration and amazement that grew in me during that number. The tap battle between the Pirate King and the Sergeant also deserves a notable mention. I felt so ridiculously giddy and happy watching their skills transform into our laughter, I truly felt all my troubles were washed away in those moments.
SMTD’s production of The Pirates of Penzance honestly blew me away, and I know that Gilbert and Sullivan would have been proud of each and every cast, crew, and orchestra member that made this performance beyond emotions and words.