Disclaimer time: This is a review of a preview performance, things still bedding in, your mileage may vary, etc.
I have to say my knowledge of Gilbert & Sullivan is, apart from many of the tunes being famous in their own right, almost zero. So I can only take this all-male production of The Pirates of Penzance as I find it as my first encounter with this operetta. I'm still not sure whether I'd like a more traditional take on it or find it all a bit twee, but with this camp twist to it it's certainly a lot of fun, and the cast are very talented. Not all of the soloists' singing voices are quite loud enough to be heard at the back of Wilton's, but most do well enough and Alan Richardson, playing Mabel, hits some high notes I'm sure most real women would find hard enough. Samuel J Holmes as Ruth steals many a scene, and there's a lot of funny touches, some nice physical work and a surprise backflip in a fight scene. There were moments in the second half when my attention drifted, possibly because I was near the back and a lot of the action was blocked in a way that made it hard to see from there. But overall an enjoyable evening and even if it's not your thing at least there's some cute pirates with unbuttoned shirts to keep you distracted.
The Pirates of Penzance by W.S. Gilbert & A.S. Sullivan is booking until the 16th of May at Wilton's Music Hall.