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TCT's Pirates of Penzance is a whimsical adventure

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Brynn Carnesecca | Touriddu​

While it is no easy feat directing a musical, staging a musical written in 1879 seems a near-impossible task. However, Timpanogos Community Theater breathes new life into this challenging script. The piece pushes even the most experienced actors to the limit with an almost entirely sung-through libretto. Yet, TCT's production is filled to the brim with out-of-this-world singers and comedic timing beyond the words of the script.

The Valentine Theatre immediately sets the mood, preparing the audience for a journey on the high seas. Pirate-themed music, moody blue lighting and a pirate ship front and center spark the audience's imagination, pulling them deeper into the world of Pirates of Penzance. The show opens with a scene indicative of the rest of the production. Instead of a flashy dance sequence, heartfelt ballad or another theater stereotype, the show begins with a mime-like performance with the miniature pirate ship. Immediately, the audience knows what kind of show this is-and boy, is it fun.

Pirates of Penzance follows 21-year-old Fredric, played by stand-out performer Adam Moore, a wide-eyed pirate looking to start a new life. Throughout the musical, he is caught in the crosshairs between his pirate days with Pirate King Bartholomew, played by Aaron Williams, and his newfound love, Mabel, played by Kyra Fowler. Hijinks and hilarious conflict ensue as Fredric navigates each sticky situation.

Directed by Marlene Brinkerhoff Myers, the production leans into the goofiness of the script rather than trying to take itself too seriously. At different moments throughout the production, frightened characters hide behind small branches, ladies fall to the ground for Fredric, pirates act as fountains-even going as far as to spit water across the stage-and the entire pirate crew runs behind a miniature ship on a table.

The script only adds to the tone, including a song where a middle-aged woman tries to seduce young Fredric, pirates fall to bits over an old man's orphan story, and a leap-year birthday situation ensnares the main character. Simply put, the silliness of the production is its strength. In an operetta that can be tricky to follow at times, the exaggerated physicality ensures all can easily follow the hilarious story.

While the goofiness is fantastic, the cast is the shining star of the production. With delightful vocals coming from leads Fredric and Mabel, every song with the power couple leaves the audience stunned at the technique and range. At multiple points, characters sing at over 100 beats per minute under challenging songs such as “I Am The Very Model of a Modern Major-General,” “How Beautifully Blue the Sky,” and “When You Had Left Our Pirate Fold.” Throughout the show, the actor's voices never become tired or strained.

The Pirate King, played by Aaron Williams, and Major General Stanley, played by Brett Hansen, shine in their roles and embellish the story with their flushed-out characters. Supporting roles Pirate Samuel, played by Sam Clayton, Ruth, played by Vivian Mathias, and Sergeant Bernard, played by Aaron Bone, continually strengthened the piece in their unique ways.

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The ensemble is the show's foundation, continually popping in and out of complex scenes and vocal sections. Multiple dance sequences, impossibly fast numbers and complicated staging earn this ensemble accolades all on their own. Stand-out Daughter Kate, played by Ciara Hulet, and Policeman Murphy, played by Joel Griffiths, had me belly-laughing multiple times with their attention to facial expressions and physical presence.

The tech was also well above par, never for a moment faltering or taking the audience out of the story. The costumes were fantastic, showing the talent behind Timpanogas Arts Foundation's productions.

TCT's family-friendly Pirates of Penzance is not to be missed. It will be showing at the Valentine Theater Thursdays through Saturdays and Mondays at 7:30 p.m. until May 4. Tickets can be purchased at www.TAFtix.com.

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