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From The Daily Gazette (Middlesbrough, England), Tuesday, January 4, 1881.

GAIETY THEATRE, WEST HARTLEPOOL – A week's acquaintance with "The Pirates of Penzance" has not lessened the eagerness of the local public to witness Messrs. Gilbert and Sullivan's whimsical production. Arrangements have been made with Mr. D'Oyly Carte's company, who have for their "guide, philosopher, and friend" Mr. J. W. Beckwith for six more representations and the first of these, given on Monday evening, was witnessed by a crowded audience, who evinced as much interest in the performance as ever. But genuine, innocent, hearty, harmless fun must always be welcome, and the fun of "The Pirates of Penzance" is absolutely free from reproach. The Archbishop of Canterbury might pay it a visit in company with all the British bishops and laugh their fill without the slightest fear of danger to the Established Church.

The notion of mixing up an old-fashioned melodrama with all sorts of new-fangled ideas of modern life and fashion, with pirates in Greek costume on the coast of Cornwall and young ladies arrayed like professional beauties, might well cause some amusement. The introduction of the policeman, too, and the grotesque idea of the pastoral innocence and purity of the burglar when "he's not burgling," are irresistibly funny, and create no end of laughter.

Much credit is due to the company for the admirable manner in which they give effect to Mr. Gilbert's quaint dialogue and Mr. Sullivan's charming music and in singling out Miss Ethel McAlpine, Miss Fanny Harrison, and Messrs. R. Mansfield, James Sydney, G. B. Browne and F. Federici for special praise it most not be supposed that the other members of the company are deficient in ability. Indeed, the chorus is worthy of the warmest praise. The voices are charmingly blended, and the intonation is excellent; whilst the band, under the direction of Mr P. W. Halton, to whose musical guidance the opera is also entrusted, acquit themselves in the most satisfactory manner. Altogether a more attractive and perfect performance it would be difficult to name.


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