South Anglia Savoy Players made their sixteenth visit to the Waterford Festival, having won it five times and taken away over fifty awards. This production of The Pirates of Penzance, directed by Shane Collins was in its way honouring the festival, keeping faith with a wonderful audience and keeping alive happy memories. It also saluted the 50th Festival and celebrated its place in the world of musical theatre.

It was a night for memories and nostalgia as during the bright almost Mozartian overture, I remembered Derek Collins who founded the South Anglia Savoy Players and Dick Meany of Carrick, a stalwart festival patron as his native place celebrated his life in music this same weekend. I remembered with affection Paddy Giles and his fine stewardship of the festival and I thought of Larry Fanning and wondered when the Royal are going to put a tangible commemoration to his inspirational life.

It was beautiful to sit and soak up a warm happy appreciative atmosphere with fine settings, colourful and tasteful costumes, excellent music at a slower pace at times and most of all beautiful chorus work and vocal style typified by Hail Poetry. I don’t know where the Hail Victoria came from at the finale, but that’s a small point.

South Anglia give reverence and respect to G&S shows and perhaps that comes across today as a tad slow, a tad too measured but the vocal work was of a high operatic order with a splendid soprano Charlotte Wattebot O’Brien. Her Poor Wandering One was a wow of a highlight.

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