The Pirates of Penzance
Doing one’s duty may be honorable, but becoming its slave, to the point of honoring an apprenticeship to a band of pirates, is a typical Gilbertian comment on excess. Frederic is the erstwhile apprentice of these sentimental pirates who, now that he is 21 years old, has decided to devote himself to the extermination of piracy – until he discovers, in another Gilbertian twist, that his 21st birthday won’t occur until the distant date of 1940 because he was born in leap year on Feb. 29th. Kissing romantic Mabel farewell, he must return to his former colleagues after disclosing that her father, Major-General Stanley, has lied to the Pirate King about being an orphan, the well known secret for any captive to obtain mercy. The pirates seek revenge for having been played, easily defeat a band of diffident and out-gunned policemen, and then yield “in Queen Victoria’s name” when it is revealed that they are all noblemen who have gone wrong.