Front Row Reviewers

“Pirates of Penzance” in American Fork Welcomes Pirates into Utah County–Argh!

Front Row Reviewers

Front Row Reviewers

Review by Front Row Reviewers staff

Pirates of Penzance, playing at the Valentine Theater in American Fork is filled with pirates, damsels and lots of great music and dancing and Director Marlene Brinkerhoff Myers gives us all a whale of a great time. Gilbert and Sullivan‘s well-loved musical comedy gives audiences something in a modern and major way.

Pirates of Penzance tells the story of Frederick (Adam Moore), who becomes a pirate by accident and as he approaches his 21st birthday, anticipates his apprenticeship will be over and he will be free to leave the boat and the thieving pirate life forever. Frederick sees the beautiful maiden Mabel (Kyra Fowler) and can’t wait to get on with his life. Meanwhile, Frederick’s nurse Ruth (Vivian Mathias), who got him this internship in the first place, is loathe to let this comely young man go. She connives to keep Frederick in servitude when it is revealed that the young love-struck man was born on leap day, which means he isn’t actually 21 at all. It is a joy to behold Moore and Fowler fall flirtingly in love. And Mathias is brilliant as she tries to connive poor Frederick out of his well-earned freedom.

The Pirate King, played by Aaron Williams, is full of himself–he’s a pirate and a king, after all. Williams takes on this role with gusto and humor. Major General Stanley, played by Brett Hansen, shows the contrast of his character, filled with rules and honor and “proper” behavior. He’s a wonderful foil to the Pirate King, whose vigor can be also threatening. Hansen is the one that that song. You know, THAT song: “Modern Major General”, which for all intents and purposes is Gilbert & Sullivan rap. In this show, Hansen does a reprise of this song even faster than the first speedy rendition that has to be seen to believed.

Along with these stellar performances, Sgt Bernard (Aaron Bone) leads his keystone cops, and these scenes are hilarious. Rounding out the cast are Mabel’s five sisters. Director Myers keeps all the energy alive with this fine cast, and it’s a delight to behold.

Pirates of Penzance can often come off as simply campy. The leads in American Fork’s Pirates of Penzance bring a sweet realism as they perform. Williams, Hansen, Moore, Fowler, and Mathias help this show go from silly to satisfying. Their acting skills are top notch.

Costumes by Nicole Madsen are wonderful, especially the General’s and the Pirate King’s– and from the frocks to the glamour–all are time period appropriate for the 1800s but with a 2024 zing. Set Designer Larry Myers‘ creation of the ship is incredible and takes us to the stormy seas in the play and on the stage. Musical Director Chari Bennett is to be commended. Bennet’s insistence on her cast using precise diction that can be understood and enjoyed is obvious. Being able to understand the tricky verbiage in these songs is essential detail in this multi-layered production and makes the entire musical shine. Choreographer Marilyn Montgomery has created a hilarious bit with her policemen–it is complicated but well-executed. Kiddos will love this. Adults, too. Lighting design by Caleb Wallengren adds to the mood and keeps us focused. Sound Engineer Jason Young has been given the task of melding all the sounds and beauty and hilarity up front and fabulous.

This is a light and heart-warming show, appropriate for all ages, and gives the audience a chance to leave the world behind. This is a treat for all. With seven more performances, find a time to come see this charming, truly hilarious version of Pirates of Penzance.

Timpanogos Community Theater and Timpanogos Art Foundation presents Pirates of Penzance, music by Arthur Sullivan and libretto by W. S. Gilbert.
Valentine Theater, 839 E 9th N, American Fork, UT 84003
April 25-27, 29, March 2-4, 2024 7:30 PM
Tickets: $20, children and seniors $10, students $15
And don’t miss their “Dress like a pirate” nights–4/29 and 5/4. Put on your argh! and you’ll get a prize. Contact: Marlene 385-787-4040
Timpanogos Community Theater Facebook Page
Pirates of Penzance promo video

Front Row Reviewers

Front Row Reviewers


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

AlphaOmega Captcha Classica  –  Enter Security Code