Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Gilbert Sullivan - Pirates of Penzance / Anthony Warlow David Hobson Australian Opera|
Actor: Anthony Warlow
Director: Stuart Maunder
Genres: Action & Adventure, Musicals & Performing Arts
Lock up your daughters, the pirates are coming to town! — Peppered with unforgettable melodies and tongue-twisting songs, The Pirates of Penzance is one of the most popular operettas ever written. — Opera Australia's new pro... more »
Very Good and UNIQUE Production
D. Buccheri | USA | 07/08/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I've seen most of this production on clips on the internet, as it obviously had not been released on DVD in the USA prior to this release.
The best part of this production is Anthony Warlow's new portrayal of the Pirate King. In order to appeal to a new audience, he modeled his portrayal of the character after Johnny Depp's portrayal of "Captain Jack Sparrow" from Disney's "Pirates of the Carribean" trilogy. He clearly really studied that character as all he really matches the voice and the mannerisms of Jack Sparrow. His costume is also modeled after the costume of Jack Sparrow. At first I didn't like the idea of that when I heard he was going to do it, but now after seeing I really Love it. It works VERY well in the operetta and gives a new unique spin on it. I'm a big fan of this operetta, so if you are too, and if at first you don't like the idea, Give it a Chance!!! I did, and I'm glad, because I REALLY enjoyed this take on the character.
Another special part of this is that is includes the song "My Eyes Are Fully Open" or sometimes known as "Matter." This song is originally from Gilbert & Sullivan's "Ruddigore". It is occassionally done in Pirates of Penzance as a substitution for "Duty, Duty" with of course some different lyrics than Ruddigore. Productions have the option to do whichever they want. This cast performs "My Eyes Are Fully Open" wonderfully, and is further reason to buy this DVD.
Numerous members of the cast were also seen in Opera Australia's HMS Pinfore and Trial By Jury. Including Anthony Warlow, David Hobson as Frederic and John Bolton-Wood as Major General Stanley. They all play their roles wonderfully. I've admired David Hobson for his acting and portrayal of characters. He's not my favorite tenor voice, although it is good. The singing in the production is good, although I have heard better voices play some of the roles in the past. That's really only a VERY minor flaw though, because the singing is actually VERY good, just not the BEST I've heard. That's the only reason I gave 4 stars rather than 5. I do prefer watching this production over previous ones that I liked the singing better on for better production reasons.
I highly recommend buying this DVD even if you already own a different version of Pirates of Penzance. It's really a wonderful production. Anthony Warlow's new portrayal of The Pirate King alone is worth the full price of the DVD. Furthermore, it is a wonderful production as a whole."
High expectations not met, but still entertaining
Freddie | Gold Coast, Australia | 08/25/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"One of the most famous and loved Gilbert & Sullivan shows, performed by Opera Australia starring Anthony Warlow and David Hobson - one could be excused for expecting something extraordinary. I certainly did. Unfortunately, my expectations were not met.
Firstly, I would like to say that this is NOT a poor performance. The talent and professionalism of the cast is obvious throughout and it is an enjoyable show. There were, however, a number of disappointments for me.
Firstly was the "toy theatre" set design. While the rationale for this is explained in interviews included as special features in the DVD and it sounds like a sound idea when you listen to these interviews, the bottom line is "did it work?" - I guess for me it didn't and an opportunity for a great set that really created the atmosphere was lost.
The second was the omission of the overture. For me, the overture of a Gilbert & Sullian show is as integral a part of the show as the rest of it and I am always disappointed when they are not included or even abridged.
Finally, was Anthony Warlow's portrayal of the Pirate King. Anthony commented in his interview that he was influenced by a couple of character's, including Johnny Depp's Jack Sparrow form Pirates of the Caribbean. Unfortunately, his performance appears to be more of a blatant copy of this character rather than simply influenced by it. While this may be of appeal to some, for me it was a distraction. I have great admiration for Anthony Warlow both as a singer and an actor. I have seen him portray many fine roles and would have much preferred it if he had developed his own way of portraying the character, as I know he can do so well.
I was lucky enough to see this performance live before the DVD came out, so I knew exactly what to expect, but I still bought it. This probably reinforces that there is much to enjoy in this show. If I have come across overly critical of this show, it is probably because I know they could have done so much better with it. I did actually enjoy it. It is not, in my view, a poor performance, but a poorly perceived production of a great show."
Imitation is the Sincerest Form of Redundancy
padremac | St. Paul, MN United States | 08/28/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I am resigned to the fact there will be nothing significantly new done to a treatment of "Pirates" since Joseph Papp. This production, with some promising innovations, took to itself many of Papp's "Shakespeare in the Park" contrivances with uneven results. On the whole, for those who have never seen "Pirates" before, you will be delighted. For those who groan at the mindless pastiches on the 1980's show, toss this one on the heap. Elements from Papp's production found here: the "intimate" staging, with lightbulbs adorning the periphery; abridged overture; the costumes in general; the "matter" patter trio translated from "Ruddigore;" and the "New York" finale. Unlike the Papp show, however, we are not subjected to synthesizers, even though there are some minor musical alterations. One real surprise was the inclusion of the original business in the Act II finale meant to remind one of "Pinafore:" "All of them peers? Well, most of them..." Anthony Warlow's treatment of the Pirate King as Jack Sparrow was a wonderful idea. One wonders why this was the only original artistic idea in the entire production. The sound was disapointing when the full chorus sang, although some solo passages were also very soft. The film editing was very choppy and lacked the on-stage still-cam footage we saw in the company's production of "Pinafore." Still, it's probably the best version of the show on DVD to date."
Poor Wandering Camera
Kyle Hancock | Lewisville, Texas | 08/27/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Better weigh anchor, landlubber ... or take something to steady your eyes. There are several cameras working to capture this production--and it comes across in an unnatural way.
The cameras are constantly cutting to Anthony Warlow (adeptly impersonating Johnny Depp's Jack Sparrow from "Pirates of the Caribbean") whether or not it makes sense. Case in point, watch the clip of "Modern Major General". The director, swept up in Jack-Sparrow mania, overdoes the reaction shots. Very distracting--especially when the Major General is in the middle of his vocal line.
Not only are the camera cuts witness to the director's heavy-handed emphasis on Warlow/Depp/Sparrow but the final bows are as well. It is highly unusual for a Pirate King to get the last bow in a Penzance production. Usually, Mabel and Frederic do because they are the romantic leads and they are also the soprano and tenor. Furthermore, the Major General is listed at the top of the cast in most any Penzance score, so it wouldn't be so very strange for the Major General to be last out at a curtain call. While the Pirate King is important, there are four other lead characters in this show (Ruth rounds out the leads). But the very-talented Warlow is lucky enough to have a director who lets him overstep the soprano, the tenor and the lead actor. One wonders if an agent had worked Warlow's contract to get him the last bow. The final bows wouldn't have bothered me as much if the camerawork hadn't already been overdone.
Of special note, Richard Alexander delivers a delightful interpretation of the Sergeant of Police. And be sure to pay attention during the finale. During a coloratura passage that just won't end, one of the females nearly gets a finger pushed down her uvula. These sorts of humor-laced touches are pervasive throughout this Penzance, making it an essential addition to any G&S library--in spite of the camerawork being as choppy as the high seas."