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  • Writer's pictureChris Mads

Show week: Pirates of Penzance

Last week was show week. Those of you who know me will know this means it was a pretty hectic, but thoroughly enjoyable time. When I'm not grown-upping at work, I spend quite a lot of time on stage. I first got the "amdram" bug when I was six and I've sort of had it ever since. I'm a big believer in the idea of having a hobby which lets you swtich off from work completely, and this is mine. I'm not claiming to be stunningly good at it, but I can learn and deliver a line and (when called on) remember a dance step and pick up a tune or two. But show week is always a crazy time. I generally work during the day so I am up at 7 and into the office for 9, finish the day's work at 5.30 and head to a theatre for 6pm. But this was different.

This venture was Pirates of Penzance with Croydon Operatic and Dramatic Association. It was different because it was outside. Set in the bandstand of Croydon's Wandle Park it meant we got open-air theatre, setting up our stage from scratch every night and praying the rain held off. It did and didn't.

Thursday we had a torrential downpour shortly before the show and Saturyda afternoon was wet with hammering rain until 20 minutes before the final performance that night. Bless the audience members who turned up in spite of the rain and a special mention to to 93-year-old who arrived for the damp afternoon performance and made it very clear she was determined to watch regardless of what happened. You have to love this British summer spirit.

For the uninitiated, Pirates of Penzance is an operetta by Gilbert and Sullivan. It follows Frederick, a young pirate apprentice who ends his apprenticeship on his 21st birthday and aims to make-up for the bad he did as a pirate by arresting his former comrades. Along the way he falls in love with Mabel. He then discovers he was born in a leap year on Febraury 29 so his 21st birthday (which marks the end of his pirate apprencticeship) will not take place until he is 84. He reluctantly rejoins the pirates and hilarity - and happy endings - ensue.

I was playing Frederick in this one - a truly dauinting prospect for someone who has never had a singing lesson in his life - but it was a fun week. The show is stolen by the Pirate King and Major General who were brilliantly played for us.

These photos (not taken by me obviously) give a bit of a flavour of the week. Oh and this guys was my favourite pirate.

I am afraid I don't know the photographer's name, I'll update this as soon as I do. She was great.

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