Libby keeps the Pirates moving

Pirates of Penzance, Lewes Town Hall, March 26-31, 7.30pm nightly.

LIBBY Hannelle isn’t a director afraid to help things along a bit. Expect plenty of sparkle when her Pirates of Penzance - in the Broadway version - takes to the stage for Lewes Operatic Society.

By day a driving instructor, Libby will be keeping her foot on the pedal.

The Broadway version added in a couple of extra songs, Libby explains, one from HMS Pinafore, one from Ruddigore.

“They added them in because they felt that it was not quite long enough. There is a whole section in the middle of Act II that I was thinking was going to drag, but I am doing something naughty by adding extra people on stage just to move it along a bit.

“Pirates Of Penzance is one of G&S’ best. It has got the most cohesive story line. And it is rather funny.”

Libby particularly enjoys the girls determined to “rock ‘n’ roll” in her 1950s version. The pirates are still pirates, but they are teddy boy pirates.

And as it is a show predominantly demanding younger ladies, Libby has brought in some of her older ladies as pirates and policemen as well.

“Gilbert & Sullivan is just a jolly good romp. It’s like Shakespeare. If you do it right, you can take it into the modern period because it is naughty and rude. Most good theatre is naughty and rude, and so is this.

“It’s very appealing. I love directing panto and I love commedia dell’arte. I think that the two are fairly closely connected.”

And G&S is in that vein, Libby believes: “It’s a rollicking good fun family show. If anyone hasn’t ever before experienced anything like this, then they should certainly come along.”

Tickets www.lewesoperatic.co.uk or from Lewes Town Hall 10-2, Monday-Friday.