The Pirates of Penzance (1983)

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The Pirates of Penzance: Directed by Wilford Leach. With Kevin Kline, Angela Lansbury, Linda Ronstadt, George Rose. After a young man leaves a band of pirates, hilarity ensues.

“I recently had the task, for a organizationu0026#39;s class, to assemble various performances of the Gilbert u0026amp; Sullivan operetta u0026quot;The Pirates of Penzanceu0026quot;. This has always been my favorite Gu0026amp;S work, and I have heard many live performances, plus I have played the Pirate King in a revue type staging of the work. u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eI recall seeing the Kevin Kline version many years ago, and did not recall the details. Obtaining a copy to view for my project, I was very impressed with the wit and overall quality of the performances. There are a few small issues, such as the fudging of Linda Ronstadtu0026#39;s and Rex Smithu0026#39;s vocal parts (It is clear, whenever Smith sings, that lots of electronic enhancement is being used to bring his voice into the same universe with the other more capable singers, but still he has right delivery and it works well; for Ronstadt, she does very well, but for u0026quot;Poor Wandering Oneu0026quot; her part has been transposed down a bit, probably so that she can manage the highest notes), and the overdubbing of a couple other performeru0026#39;s singing by better singers, but overall the dancing and singing is as good as any I have seen.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eThe staging is deliberately campy, somewhere between traditional stagecraft and a movie set, and it adds extra charm to the proceedings. There has been some carping about Angela Lansburyu0026#39;s singing, but what she does is in line with the requirements of the role, and is in fact typical of other performances of Ruthu0026#39;s character (I recall the director, during casting of the performance I was in, saying of Ruth, u0026quot;we donu0026#39;t need a GOOD singer, only a FUNNY singer).u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eA quick review of the offerings of Pirates on Amazon reveals that the only DVD version of this cast is taken from an outdoor staging in New York (and without Lansbury). It is one of the mysteries of DVD releases that the film version does not exist on on DVD; it certainly one of the best.”


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