The Harold International Arts Festival got off to a rollicking start when the entire audience was held hostage and relieved of their valuables at the Somali Players production of The Pirates of Penzance.
The Gilbert and Sullivan favourite was the headline act at the Arts Festival, and the Somali players had already caused a stir by arriving in town on small inflatable craft up the Harold River. That publicity stunt, plus earlier reviews that the show was “captivating”, ensured there was a full house at Harold Village Hall.
The show itself didn’t disappoint, despite the entire opera being sung in Somali and lingering concerns that the Somali Players would struggle to adapt their show to a land-based intimate hall format after an Arabian Gulf tour playing to massive oil tankers and cruise liners.
“I just loved the colourful costumes, energetic dancing, and exciting swordplay” said theatre fan Sally Lloyd. “Though I was a bit surprised that when I purchased a souvenir Somali t-shirt at the intermission, not only did they not give me change, they also didn’t give me the t-shirt.”
Local shopkeeper Julie Kettle said the show was her introduction to light opera and the experience really broadened her mind.
“It’s not every night you get a sword pressed against your throat and learn the Somali words for ‘give me your watch, rings, and wallet, bitch’.”
“It’s no wonder we all screamed for an encore and they came back and nicked our phones.”
Harold Mayor Rufus D Jackson was pleased that the Harold International Arts Festival had started with such a buzz, and was ecstatic that he had neglected to take his wallet to the show.
“It’s going to be hard to top this, but later in the week the Taliban Players comic production of ‘Carry on Infidel’ should cause audiences to laugh their heads off, going by the reviews.”