New London presents "Pirates of Penzance'

SNELLVILLE - The New London Theatre invites Gwinnett residents to a swashbuckling romp that is the very model of a modern pirate adventure.

A ragtag cast, ages 14 to mid-50s, presents Gilbert and Sullivan's "The Pirates of Penzance," a humorous tale of romance, action and duty. Frederic, apprenticed by mistake to the rogue Pirate King, eagerly anticipates his 21st birthday and his resulting emancipation from duty. He develops an infatuation with the beautiful Mabel, but circumstances and conniving behavior may keep him tethered to the seas for eternity.

Bryan Lewis conveys Frederic's indecision between responsibility and love without falling to paltry sympathies.

"In one scene, I'm supposed to be like an Elvis kind of character to all of the girls," said Lewis, a second-year at Georgia Tech, "and then in the next, I'm like a 4-year-old falling in love with a girl. It's an interesting transition. I feel like my character grows."

The cast, including Holly Belcastro in her first lead as the beautiful Mabel, Snellville native John Evans as the extravagant Pirate King and recent Pharr Elementary Teacher of the Year Nancy Powell as the irresistible Blue Stocking, is a motley crew whose penchant for physical comedy and smarmy one-liners makes for a hilarious comedy of errors.

Producer John Berlo emphasized New London's unique take on the casting of roles.

"Having the Major General be a guy in his 20s and the Sergeant of Police be a guy in his 50s is a complete reversal, but we wanted to have some fun with this," Berlo said. "And we did."

"For me, I love doing the Major General songs," said Farmer, who donned heavy make-up and graying hair to play the role of the aging father. "They're so fast, upbeat and no one really expects it. Everybody gets a kick out of it - either that or the teddy bear on the butt!"

Fans of the Gilbert and Sullivan original can expect standards such as "The Major General's Song" and "Paradox," performed by trained voice actors.

"The musical talent that we have in this show is, I will say, second to none," Berlo said. "And it is really, really fun."

SideBar: If You Go

· What: "The Pirates of Penzance"

· When: 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and

2:30 p.m. Sundays through Aug. 2

· Where: New London Theatre, 2485 Main St. E., Snellville

· Cost: $12 in advance and $15 at the door

· For more information: Call 770-559-1484 or visit www.newlondontheatre.org