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Gilbert & Sullivan - The Pirates of Penzance / Jon English, Simon Gallaher, Helen Donaldson, Toni Lamond, Derek Metzger, Tim Tyler, Craig Schaffer

Jon English , Helen Donaldson , Craig Schaefer , Peter Butler    NR (Not Rated)   DVD
2.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 42.99
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Product Description

Product Description

Gilbert and Sullivan's hilarious comic operetta tells the story of the orphan Frederic. The son of a wealthy 19th century man, Frederic's fate takes a sudden twist when, after his father's death, his hard-of-hearing nursemaid finds him an apprenticeshop as a pirate instead of a pilot! He fulfills his apprenticeship with not just any old pirate, rather, it's with the Pirate King himself, the leader of the not-sofierce "Pirates of Penzance." But now at age 21 and with his indenture ending, Frederic's sense of duty calls him to rid the seas of his former friends. Despite their track record, the pirates believe they have an ace up their collective sleeves, a way of keeping Frederic amongst them...

Starring Jon English, Simon Gallaher and Toni Lamond, this delightful rollicking story includes some of Gilbert & Sullivan's most famous tunes, including "I am a Pirate King" and "(I Am The Very Model Of) A Modern Major General."

"Fast...spectacular...a blaze of action" - The Bulletin "Inspired...fiercely energetic...splendid" - Sydney Morning Herald

Jon English The Pirate King; Marc James Samuel, his Lieutenant; Simon Gallaher Frederic; Toni Lamond Ruth, a Pirate Maid; The Fabulous Singlettes Major-General Stanley's Daughters; Helen Donaldson Mabel; Derek Metzger Major-General Stanley; Tim Tyler The Sergeant. Also starring David Coombs, Robert Dale, Michael Flazon, Marc James, Gary Jones, David Lowe, Emma Powell, Peter Rees, David Scotchford, Jason Smith, Anthony Weigh, Lachlan Youngberg, Jenny Wilson Ensemble. Recorded live at the Lyric Theatre, Queensland Performing Arts Centre, Australia, November 5, 1994.


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Most helpful customer reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD
First of all, I greatly respect the opposite viewpoint presented in this product review, and I can definitely agree with him if placed on a common denominator -- if you are a Gilbert & Sullivan purist, this is most definitely *not* the production for you.

However, if the thought of slapstick, self-referential and all-around lowbrow humor in your Gilbert & Sullivan doesn't offend you, then this is the best choice available. A reviewer on another site referred to it as "not your traditional 'Pirates', but your Rugby club's 'fish-n-chips night fundraiser Pirates'". My "significant other" is no Gilbert & Sullivan fan. Yet she laughed her tuchus off at the never-ending pratfalls, sight gags and so forth.

So yes, in a summary -- if you're a traditionalist, stay away. If you want "G&S themed" pratfalls and schtick, there is no greater G&S production available.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A Parody of a Parody doesn't work April 8 2007
Format:DVD
I am a G&S purist and resent the wholesale changes that were made in the production of this operetta. Obviously, the audience viewing the performance enjoyed the slapstick that went on, particularly in the first act, but I found it unnecessary. Pirates is sufficiently amusing as it was written, and a few updates can make it contemporary. I found the contralto who changed octaves apparently on a whim especially irritating. Gilbert had a weakness for giving beautiful numbers to contraltos and this lady, while obviously vocally trained, had an irritating habit of going up and down an octave in the middle of a phrase. I found it distracting, particularly when she sang with the excellent tenor who played Frederick, because they would be singing the same note in the same octave in the same quality.

I hope the rest of the production was on a par with that portion I was able to sit through, as I left during the first act, when the Major-General's daughters turned out to be only three young ladies!
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1.0 out of 5 stars Not the Permance I expected. Jan. 11 2011
By Jonnah
Format:DVD
Having watched a Channel 4 showing of Pirates by the Sydney Opera Company.
I read the reviews on Amazon, which were all very good.
Placed my order only to find it was out of stock.

I then received a message to inform me that it was now available and again
completed the order.

On the 6th Jan.I received my DVD. On playing the DVD I realized that it was
not the performance that was transmitted by Channel 4. But a performance
produced and sold by ABC and or Simon Gallaher.
A much inferior performance and production and although the same cast of players,
it did not have the excitement and sound quality of the channel 4 many showings.
To say am very disappointed is to say the least. But am grateful that i can let you
know via your review page.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.1 out of 5 stars  43 reviews
28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Straight G&S - Not; A delight - Yes Aug. 12 2006
By Richard - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
You can tell from the overture that this will not be Pirates as written. Yes, most of the material is there, but it is re-orchestrated for synthesizer etc. And the cast appears to be VIPs from Austrailia's theater world rather than G&S singers. Rather like the Ronstat Kline US production. Most are amplified and that is at times distracting. Now if you can accept this you are in for a genuine delight. These folks are wonderful entertainers and the schticks flow fast and free. Not that the original is slighted. Look at it as a way to bring G&S up to date. Accept Australia's premise and prepare to be swept up in inspired lunacy.
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Delightfully fun March 22 2007
By Rinne - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
While this production may not quite stick to the 'spirit' that G&S intended, it is possibly one of the funniest things I've ever seen. Pirates is meant to be a comedy, and this makes it more so. It may possibly be that some of the humour will not translate to an international market (it's an Australian production), but a lot of it will.

All the singers are fantastic, possibly the weakest singer is Jon English (the Pirate King) but he makes up for any small inadequacies in his voice with the absolutely amazing energy of his performance. Ruth is played by a veteran of Australian stage, Toni Lamond.

The two best singers are Mabel and Frederick, as they should be.

If you want to watch a fun production, this is what you should watch.
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a must see dvd Aug. 1 2006
By tabitha - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
this rendition of the Pirates of Penzance is an excellant watch and has brought enjoyment and laughter to our entire family for a long time .We all have fond memories of watching it again and again and this from young ones you would never get to the opera let alone reportory. The tongue in cheek banter and the interaction with the conductor of the orchestra are hysterical so advice all to settle in for a good laugh and much mirth.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fun, frothy and silly Jan. 14 2007
By Keen Bean - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
If you are after traditional G&S, you've definitely come to the wrong place. This version is fun, frothy and silly, extensively "modernised", with little bits added and with electronic music. This production, with Jon English (Pirate King) and Simon Gallaher, first opened in Sydney in 1984 - just a fabulous night out - and personally I preferred it to what it had evolved to ten or so years later (the 1984 version launched the unknown Marina Prior, had a larger chorus of far more "normal" sisters, featured David Atkins as a sparklingly energetic and very tiny Sargeant, and June Bronhill - a real opera singer - as a delightful Ruth).

It's inevitable that some parts will not please everyone. Some changes enhance it, some seem like change for the sake of change... after all there ARE good reasons this show from the 1870s is still so loved! For example, I love the energy, enthusiasm and dancing ability of anything involving the Pirates and the men's chorus. On the other hand I can't stand the not-so-Fabulous-Singlettes, three singers who play "the ladies chorus" - if I was Frederic faced with a choice of marrying Ruth or going for the "sweet young things" then one of the most beautiful yearning tenor solos in the G&S lexicon would never have been written.

The strength of this production revolves around Frederic and the Pirate King (and that men's chorus!).

Simon Gallaher (Frederic) who I believe mounted this production (?) is a lovely Frederic - sings like an angel, looks young and innocent - just delightful. He plays the role "straight", and it works.

I really enjoy the performance of Jon English as the Pirate King. English (a former 70s rock star) has an awesome presence, helped by being extremely tall. He plays the King as a bit of a thick, a combination of lovable and scary but definitely dumb! - and very funny (although this probably worked better on stage!).

Helen Donaldson as Mabel is lovely - and also played "straight".

Major General - not the best choice - too young (looks like the younger brother of the Fabulous Singlettes), too stupid, too comic. The ORIGINAL is funny enough.

So - to buy it or not? It depends what you are after! My kids are enjoying it (as I speak!) as an intro to G&S, and it's great for that. Those looking for a new approach will find plenty to enjoy, although you may find (like me) that the "price" of the energy and new approach is needing to forgive some stuff!!! Purists will probably find that it is too much.

I DO wish they'd recorded it ten years earlier before it went too far...

There's another production currently running in Australia, from Opera Australia. I expect this will become available in the next six months (it's already been on TV) and I look forward to getting that one. Personally I prefer it, and I have to say the singing is MUCH, MUCH better.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow! What a stunner. Oct. 16 2007
By M. Bond - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
I first saw this production on Sky and was thrilled to get the D.V.D. from Amazon. Gilbert and Sullivan purists may hate this interpretation but in my opinion operetta is meant to be light hearted fun, and I think G & S would approve. When I want serious I view grand opera at Covent Garden.
The singing and acting were superb and the comedy sketches hillarious without being farcical.
Jon English, well what can I say? Totally brilliant!
More uplifting than Prozac, more fun than a night out with the girls, my perfect stay at home feel good D.V.D
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