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The Pirates of Penzance
The Mountain at Mount Vernon Place United Methodist Church
Saturday, July 18 at 2:45 p.m.; Sunday, July 19 at 6:45 p.m.
They say: A rollicking band of pirates thwart the efforts of bumbling policemen to win over the daughters of a modern major-general. Back for their third summer at the Fringe, this group of very talented youth, directed by Pamela Leighton-Bilik, must not be missed.
Ted’s take: My, what fun.
Good clean fun, of course—-no Fringe-y deconstructionism or naughty bits grafted on or any of that: just an eerily precocious flock of varying ages and heights, all of ’em with superior stage presence and fine pipes. Also: no shortage of tricorner hats. These folks aren’t just competent, mind you—-they really sell lines like “When your process of extermination begins, let our deaths be as swift and painless as you can conveniently make them.” (Even if, you know, they flub the occasional “i’faith.”)
Bolstered by the ensemble’s magnanimous efforts, Matt Sartucci and Kelsey McDonnell deliver standout performances as the Pirate King and Mabel, respectively. The latter’s sylph-like stage presence and willowy precision in her descants bear special note—here’s a rising high-school junior with serious comedy chops who can sing circles around many of her older counterparts elsewhere at Fringe. Jordan Alexander Li also turns in a delightfully saucy Major General—-but someone get this guy a fake mustache!
OK, OK, so the police scenes were maybe underdirected—-that deadpan jig makes its point pretty quick, fellas—-and abridgement-wise, I’d rather have lost portions of the overlong “Climbing Over Rocky Mountain” in favor of, say, some neglected verses from “I Am a Pirate King!” But let’s not digress. The point here is the comedy (which the performers are enjoying at least as much as you are), and the lil’ flourishes—-as when, before their climactic raid, the pirates produce their assorted weaponry: badminton racquets, toilet brushes…you know, the usual. Superb.
See it if: You dig G&S, or you couldn’t find a babysitter.
Skip it if: You like your patter songs faster than (oh, I dunno) 100 beats per minute.