Pirates of Penzance – Scottish Opera and D’Oyly Carte Company – Bristol Hippodrome – Review

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Pirates of Penzance

Saturday afternoon at the Bristol Hippodrome was a gleeful affair. The multi age audience (complete with several youngsters dressed as pirates) was ready to enter the absurd world that is a Gilbert and Sullivan opera. The Bristol Hippodrome is a wonderful theatre, a perfect setting for this show.


The D’Oyly Carte company has had a turbulent time these past few years but thanks to a canny ex KPMG partner noticing they paid too much VAT (into the 6 figures too!!) they’re back.

This was a stylish production that had me beaming like a Cheshire cat throughout and laughing heartily too. The opening of Act 2, Police Sergeant and infamous “Modern Major General” song were great.

What is often overlooked due to the humour is the beautiful score in this opera. The wonderful Scottish Opera Orchestra and cast gave outstanding performances.

Rebecca Bottone as Mabel, must get special mention. What a staggering performance, a beautiful voice and wonderful characterisation. The perfect partner for Sam Furness’s Frederic, who likewise gave a dazzling performance.

A great set and costumes gave the production a natural cohesiveness. And the designer Jamie Vartan clearly understood the humour as the set (yes, the set!) got some of biggest laughs. The opening of the show during the overture was genius.

Pirates the ladies

It was an absolute treat. I’m glad to see this partnership between D’Oyly Carte and Scottish Opera has gotten off to a swashbuckling start.

STARS : ★ ★ ★ ★ ★


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