David Barnert Posted September 22, 2012 Share Posted September 22, 2012 Greetings from Stratford, Ontario, where my wife and I are taking in four productions of the Stratford Shakespeare Festival this weekend with a couple of friends from Toronto. Two Shakespeare plays and two others, one of which was Gilbert & Sullivan's "The Pirates of Penzance" last evening. When the curtain went up to reveal the Pirates singing the opening number on board their ship, among them were a small band of onstage musicians, dressed as pirates: a guitar, a fiddle, a concertina, and (later) a mandolin. It was clear that they were all actually playing and that the orchestration had been reworked to feature them. They played through the first three songs (all the songs sung aboard ship: "Pour, oh pour, the pirate sherry," "When Fred'ric was a little lad," and "I am a pirate king!"). The concertina was an English, and appeared to be a Morse. I couldn't get a good enough look to see whether it was the 37-key Albion, the 45-key Geordie or if it had 48 keys, which would have made it something else. I looked through the program and found the concertina player identified as George Meanwell. He also played cello in the pit orchestra for the rest of the evening. My friend from Toronto, who is a member of the Toronto Morris Men, recognized the name and said he had met him. I've seen a lot of Gilbert & Sullivan, having played cello in the pit, myself, for about a dozen productions throughout high school and college in the 1970s. This was a fine production with quite a few innovative ideas and strong performances all around. Next up, "Much Ado about Nothing" this afternoon There's a pipe-and-tabor reference in the text, but I don't expect any concertinas. Come to think of it, tonight we're seeing "Henry V," which has a mention of Morris Dancing. But I think we've seen our last on-stage concertina this weekend. Tomorrow, it's "42nd Street." Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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