Pirates of Penzance was the very first musical ever staged by Tipperary Musical Society back in 1947 and again in 1982 when the society reformed. Coincidentally, the director that year was Michael O’Donoghue who also directed this year’s production. While perhaps not the most straight forward plot ever, this somewhat farcical and witty story of Pirates of Penzance was wonderfully played out by the members of Tipperary Musical Society.
The entertainment began before the curtain went up - once inside the newly refurbished Excel foyer, we were greeted by both pirate and policeman, who had cast aside their rivalries to welcome the incoming audience. Once we had taken our seats in the front row of the balcony, my pint-sized comrades (aged seven and nine) were tickled pink to see the orchestra decked out in pirate and maiden garb.
Tipperary Musical Society has a wealth of talent to choose from and front line was particularly well cast. Newcomers to the society - Emmet Donlon and Sinead O’Donovan - were superb in their roles as Frederic and Mabel respectively, while society stalwart Deirdre Ryan gave another stellar performance as Frederic’s nursemaid Ruth.
The society were delighted to welcome back Cathal O’Donoghue and John Murphy - both gave outstanding and highly entertaining performances as Major General Stanley and the Pirate King. Aidan O’Connell (Sergeant of Police) and his band of ruddy-faced policemen drew huge laughs from the audience in Act Two, while Jack Sharpe (Samuel), Olwyn Grogan (Edith), Siobhan Scanlon (Kate) and Alma Quinn (Isobel) gave wonderful performances in their supporting roles.
It would be remiss of me not to mention the chorus and in this particular case, what a chorus they were! Under the expert tutelage of Helen Colbert and Dermot O’Dwyer, both leads and chorus were finely tuned and effortlessly delivered four and five part harmonies throughout. A special mention must go to ‘Hail Poetry’ in Act One, sung acapella by a chorus of 40 plus.
Choreographer Miriam Ball did a fantastic job with the choreography as policeman and pirate, and maiden and Major General moved seamlessly around the stage. The choreography was very much in keeping with the era and stereotype of each group and was particularly well thought out by the choreographer and executed by a fantastically able cast and chorus.
Huge congratulations to director Michael O’Donoghue and Tipperary Musical Society for delivering a highly entertaining production of Pirates of Penzance.