The operas of Gilbert & Sullivan are so awash with frivolity that the last thing they need, one would think, is a theatrical device making them morefrivolous. But British director Sasha Reganbelieves otherwise. And she’s been touring the world with this production of Pirates of Penzanceto prove it. All the roles – including the maiden daughters of Major-General Stanley – are played by men. The result is very, very silly, as G&S topsy-turvydom meets old-fashioned cross-dressing camp.

Accompanied by sole pianist Michael England (who did not always rise to the occasion as the only vehicle for Arthur Sullivan’s sparkling score), the pirates first clamber onstage in what appears to be an entirely orthodox G&S production. In scene two, these same pirates are regarbed as picknicking maidens on the seaside, and the laughs start rolling in like so many breakers. This is a moment of high ridicule even in a co-ed Pirates; here, it’s utterly hilarious, with the male cast making rich mockery of girlish coyness.

Musically, how do the men handle the heights of the female vocal parts? Well, a choir of falsettos sounds remarkably similar to the real thing. The solo...