Saturday, June 22, 2024
June 22, 2024

Bach on the Rock sets sail with Pirates of Penzance



Salt Spring’s Bach on the Rock presents their final concerts of the season this weekend.

After a year of performing diverse repertoire, the group’s series ends with the ever-popular Pirates of Penzance: on Saturday, June 1 at Fulford Hall at 7 p.m. and Sunday, June 2 at Pender Island Community Hall at 2 p.m.

With an all-local cast, this hilarious show highlights the foibles of the kindly pirates and features young Frederick falling in love with Mabel, the daughter of the local Major-General. Now that he is finally coming of age, Frederick — sung by a youthful John Whitelaw — plans to abandon the vile profession of piracy and begin a life of virtue in society. Of course, he falls in love at first glance with Mabel (played by Patricia Flannagan) and is determined to make her his wife. (The author wonders what on earth a woman today would think of such a prescriptive plan from a young man she’s barely met!)

The Pirate King, an impotent pirate if ever there was, is played by Damian Inwood, who is doing double duty as stage director for the show. Loathe to lose a fledgling pirate, he pronounces that Frederick’s period of indenture is not finished. Given that Frederick’s birthday is Feb. 29, he cannot yet be of age and must remain with the pirates. (How do you think that’s going to go over now that Frederick has been struck by Cupid’s arrow?)

Ruth (played by Linda Quinn) is Frederick’s nanny, and she has, in a grotesquely Freudian twist, fallen in love with Frederick and wants him to marry her. She is uncomfortably passionate, a little worse for wear and definitely hard of hearing. She almost succeeds in convincing Frederick that she’s beautiful before he spies the fair maiden Mabel.

Mabel is one of a gaggle of girls whose father is the bombastic Major-General Stanley, played and sung by Jean Brouard. The audience will immediately recognize the popular aria “I am the very model of a modern major general,” a tongue twister sung admirably by Brouard.

For her part, Mabel’s fervent wish is to find a handsome fellow to become her devoted husband.

The plot becomes quite complex, with the pirates capturing the girls with the intent of a mass marriage, but then releasing them when the Major-General claims to be a poor orphan boy himself. The twists and turns continue as the police get involved, but, at the conclusion, not only do Frederick and Mabel end up together but the entire pirate crew finds love and marriage.

Bach on the Rock’s music director Jean-Sebastien Lévesque holds orchestra and actors together throughout the chaos. The entire crazy group of singers and musicians are thrilled to be presenting this Gilbert and Sullivan classic and look forward to sharing their talent with both Salt Spring and Pender Island audiences.

Tickets are available at or at the door, if available.

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