Thursday, June 14, 2018


As mentioned in my previous post, Uncle Fun was only the first part of our cultural doubleheader this past Sunday.  After that show, we hightailed it over to Evanston's Cahn Auditorium to see Music Theater Work's excellent show Pirates of Penzance, complete with giant cast and 26 piece orchestra. (That production plays on through June 17, and is a great production to make your child's first Gilbert and Sullivan- it's beautifully done, well-performed, and Pirates itself is a classic. And tickets for those 25 and under are half price! If you want to buy tickets, go here right now. Don't worry, I'll wait!)


We had some setbacks getting there.  Uncle Fun started at 11:30 and was supposed to end at around  12:30.  That gave us an hour and a half to drive to Evanston, grab a quick bite, and get to the Cahn Auditorium (on the Northwestern Campus).  Plenty of time!  HOWEVER:

  • Uncle Fun was nearly filled, so they delayed the showtime to make sure everybody was seated (they completely sold out the other two screenings!)
  • There was an extra long Q & A, about 15 minutes long.
  • We had to park about a 3 minute walk away from the theatre.
  • We drove to Evanston, as we drove there, I estimated that our best bet was to get fast food (even though my son and I are not big fans)  I chose the Evanston Burger King on Orrington, since it's so close to the theatre.
    James Harms (Major-General Stanley) and ensemble.
    • My son was cranky, and elected to stay in the car and rest his eyes while I grabbed the food.
    • That Burger King is the slowest in the world.  They had one person doing everything, and even though there was one person ahead of me, it took me about 15 minutes to get our food.
    • When I got out to the car, it turned out that for some reason, my son had a bloody nose in the car and was panicked!  (He sometimes gets them when the weather changes, as do I!)  He did the right thing though, and found tissues and napkins in the car.  (He should have come out and got me, but he was afraid that the alarm in the car would have gone off)  I calmed him down, washed the blood off his hands, shirt and face, and drove the five minutes or so to Cahn, while eating our terribly greasy food.

      Larry Adams (Pirate King, center) and ensemble.
      • I went the wrong way and missed Cahn the first time (lots of one way streets in Evanston)  Managed to find street parking (also about 3 minutes away from the theatre) and we walked into the theatre's box office  at 2:01 pm. The show had not yet begun.
      • There was a lady ahead of us at Will Call, who was stubbornly asking how to leave a ticket for her husband who was parking.  She didn't seem to understand what the box office attendant was saying, and he had to repeat everything three times.
      • We made it into the theatre, sat down, and thought we made it.  That's when my son realized he had to use the bathroom.  
      • We made it back into the theatre as the lights were going down and the music was swelling up  (We took seats in the back row that weren't occupied, as we didn't want to disturb our seatmates twice.)
        PJ Wilborn (Sergeant of Police, center) and ensemble.  PHOTO CREDIT BY BRETT BEINER
        Whew!  That was a lot.  But we persevered, we showed adaptability, and more importantly, we got to enjoy a great production of Pirates.  And really, it's little adventures like this that make everything worthwhile, and will give us great memories of the time we went to see a show and everything conspired against us.


        Everything we've seen at Music Theatre Works has been very well done, and this show was no exception.  Every actor had a great voice, they performed their characters clearly, the orchestra was all fantastic, the staging was well designed.  Professional is the word I'd use.

        Ben Barker (Frederic) and Cecilia Iole (Mabel).
        This was my son's first Gilbert and Sullivan, and he liked it a lot, although he had a hard time at first understanding everything that was being said.  But he got into the language and the inherent silliness, and there were 5 or 6 laugh out loud moments for him, including a particularly good joke which I will talk about below.

         I am sure I've seen it before (perhaps a university production) but what struck me is how damned clever Gilbert and Sullivan are.  I knew about their word play and the camp/silliness factor, but what I'd forgotten that at times they can be downright Oscar Wildean.

        This was one exchange that both my son and I guffawed out loud when we heard the character say it.
        It's said by the Modern Major General, who talks about disappointing his ancestors.  The young man Frederic points out he just bought his house a year ago, and they weren't his ancestors.  This is his reply:

        Frederic, in this chapel are ancestors: you cannot deny that. 
        With the estate, I bought the chapel and its contents. 
        I don't know whose ancestors they were, but I know whose ancestors they are, and I shudder to think that their descendant by purchase (if I may so describe myself) should have brought disgrace upon what, I have no doubt, was an unstained escutcheon.
        This is a fantastic quip!  Worthy of Oscar Wilde.

        We also really laughed at the whole "But We're Orphans", and the farcical elements of following your duty even though it ends up ruining your life.

        All in all, the show took our minds off our previous hour of madcap insanity, and we left the theatre in a great mood, and what more can you ask from a Gilbert and Sullivan show?

        Tickets start at $34
        Age 25 and younger 1/2 price (suitable for 8 and older)

        Friday, June 15 at 8 pm
        Saturday, June 16 at 8 pm
        Sunday, June 17 at 2 pm
        visit call (847) 920-5360

        No comments: