From the Gazette of 25 November 1950...
The joyous "Paradox"
trio, the exquisite duet, "Ah, leave me not to pine" for Mabel
and Frederic, Major-General's sublime ballad, "Sighing softly to the
river", with its choral refrain - these were some of the rich contributions
in the perfect second act of "The Pirates of Penzance" by Marton
Parish Church Choral and Operatic Society in the Parochial Hall, on Tuesday
A large audience gave a great send-off to the opera which each night since has proved a popular attraction.
The final performance will be given tonight.
Sidney King is again the producer, the traditional story is naturally contrived, and the old work (it is almost 70 years since it was produced) often seemed to take on a new lease of life.
Mr Leslie Whittaker skilfully directed the music and gave a virile impression of a beautiful score, though unfortunately, on Tuesday night, the overture was ruined by latecomers and small talk.
Mr Philip Cumberbatch led a competent orchestra.
Ruth (Mona Etherington) the pirate maid of all work, though too young for the role, despite a good make-up, was outstanding both histrionically and vocally. She was well supported by Gladys Metcalfe, an experienced Mabel who, by the way, sang with commendable restraint, and by Joyce Crowther, Maisie Moister, and Mona Etherington [actually Margaret Fletcher], the three young daughters of the general.
In the male cast, Kenneth Nicholls, in the role of the Major-General, was really authentic - he sang and acted well and his patter song reached us distinctly. Indeed, clear diction was outstanding throughout.
Arthur Sharp and Jack Wade, the former as the pirate king, were well in the picture, and William J Moister, the sergeant of the police, also scored heavily.
The pirate apprentice, W J Marsh, whom I have heard twice in the work recently, also contributed well to the performance, and the chorus merited very high praise indeed - they responded well to Mr Whittaker's demands throughout.
[There then follows a list of chorus members, officials and backstage helpers. Despite the occasional error, a really thorough reporting effort from H.F.W!]