David Niven, Anthony Andrews and even – sink me – Sid James have masqueraded as the Scarlet Pimpernel. But none got to sing and swordfight at the same time. Birkenhead Operatic Society Trust has pulled on the boots and pulled out all the stops to produce this lavish musical version of Baroness Orczy’s French Revolution classic for Capital of Culture year. The production is ambitious: a cast of 60, a slew of scenery changes, and hundreds of costumes which have kept the wardrobe department busy for several months… Pimpernel is really a boys’ own adventure, which means Julia Caroll has little to do as leading lady Marguerite but sing prettily and recoil from the advances of the murderous Chauvelin (a strong-voiced Jason Weightman). It’s left to real-life husband Mike Caroll, as cod-buffoon/wily saviour Sir Percy Blakeney, to lead his merry band of “Bounders” through the evening’s big numbers. The part-time fops cavort at court in frills and furbelows then don disguises to dash off to France and rescue dukes and duchesses from Madame la Guillotine. Their rousing numbers – Into the Fire, The Creation of Man – are crowd-pleasing highlights with some good ensemble harmonies. Director / choreographer Elsie Kelly runs a tight ship, and the staging and props, including a ship’s prow and a working guillotine, are smoothly professional. The two massive chorus set pieces, on each side of the interval, are also visually and vocally impressive… The evening ends with the French trounced and BOST and the Brits triumphant. Rating: 8/10. Swashbuckling.