Performance dates: 11-16 March 2002
Venue: The Haymarket Theatre, Basingstoke
The show opens with a group of Pirates (‘the famous Pirates of Penzance’) having a party. Their youngest member (Frederic) has turned 21, completed his indentures (apprenticeship), and is about to become a full member of their party. He was apprenticed when very young to the pirates by his nursemaid (Ruth) by mistake: She misheard her employer saying that he wanted Frederic apprenticed as a Pilot, and delivered them to the wrong people…..
Frederic however, isn’t happy about being a Pirate, and announces to them all that he intends to leave the profession, and become respectable (much to their horror). Before he leaves the band however, he has to tell them the reason that they are not very successful as Pirates:
They are too soft hearted….
As they are all orphans, it is widely known that they will not attack other orphans. Whenever they better a smaller ship, all aboard declare they are orphans, and they are released. Whenever they attack larger ships, they get soundly beaten.
He gives the remaining Pirates the chance to become respectable; a thought which horrifies the Pirate King and the remaining pirates. With this, he declares that he will have to bring them to justice and departs the band with Ruth, his nursemaid….
Walking along the seashore he discovers a group of young ladies playing by the shore. After an argument with Ruth (who secretly loves him), he approaches the girls and warns them of their proximity to the dangerous pirates. Having never seen a girl before, he asks if any of them might be interested in rescuing him from his past calling. All decline, apart from Mabel. The remaining girls, not wanting to wreck the blossoming love of the two, but also aware of the impropriety of the situation, decide to remain and discuss the weather, whilst Frederic and Mabel declaim their love for each other.
Soon however, the reality of the situation comes to the fore, and the girls decide they must leave, rather than face the Pirates. This happens too late however, and they are caught and held by the Pirates who decide to marry them. Their father (Major General Stanley) arrives and puts off their intentions by declaring he is an orphan, and they would destroy him if they took his daughters.
The Pirate King declares them all members of the Pirate band, and swears to protect them all from then on.
That night, the girls and Frederic discover Major General Stanley up past his bedtime, fretting about the lie that he has told to the Pirate King, for he is NO orphan. It is decided to call the local constabulary out, to arrest the band and save his hide.
When the police arrive, the Stanley daughters upset them by concentrating on all the ways that they are going to die at the hands of the Pirates. Not being the bravest of men, they finally get bullied into attacking the Pirate lair, with Frederic leading them.
Frederic is happy that he is now actively rooting out the scourge of the Pirates, when he meets up with the Pirate King and Ruth. With great delight, they inform he that, as he was born on the 29th of February, he has only had five birthdays. As he was apprenticed to his 21st birthday, he is still a pirate…. So Frederic unwillingly becomes a member of the Pirate band, and tells them that the Major General is not an orphan (and never was either!). The Pirate King swears vengeance on the Major General.
Crestfallen, Frederic meets Mabel, and informs her that he is once again, a member of the Pirate band. Although she does her best to sway his determination to fall into his old ways, he declares that he is a ‘Slave of Duty’, and must follow the dictates of his conscience. They declare that they will remain faithful to each other until his 21st birthday (in 1940), and then depart.
Mabel informs the Sergeant of Police of the current situation, and gets his very unwilling promise that they will still root out the Pirates.
The Police gather themselves around the Stanley estate and wait whilst the Pirate band creeps up towards the Major General, who is unaware of the latest problems…….
As the Pirate King confronts Major General Stanley, the Police come to battle the Pirates. Unfortunately for the Major General, the Police are swiftly defeated, with the Pirates victorious. All appears hopeless until the Sergeant of Police pulls out his last weapon: He demands the Pirates give themselves up in the name of Queen Victoria. Faced with such overwhelming pressure, the Pirates concede…
As they are being dragged off, Ruth cries out that they cannot be jailed, as they are all noblemen who have gone wrong. The Major General, being a true Englishman, forgives them all, gives his daughters in matrimony to the Pirates and everyone lives happily ever after.