19 June 2014

Mini review: May and Alia do Pirates

May and Alia do Pirates (of Penzance)
La Mama
18 June 2014
La Mama Courthouse
to 29 June

It's taken me three seasons to finally see May and Alia do Pirates (of Penzance). And now that the La Mama Courthouse is in cabaret setting with tables and drinks, it's a perfect time for G&S fans to take heart and tarantara along.

The premise is simple: the only people who turn up to perform Gilbert and Sullivan's Pirates of Penzance are best friends May Jasper (from Not a very good story) and Alia Vryens. They decide to do the show anyway.

Well, most of it. The bits they can sing anyway (Mabel has to be played by a ladle because they can't reach those high notes). And they have to do the fun songs that involve moustaches, pirate hats and boaters. And the songs that can be played by sock puppets. And, naturally, some of those songs are begging to be sung in a very non-Sullivan way.

Mabel the ladle and sock puppets; what could possibly go wrong?

Nothing really. Apart from Alia busting the best boom box ever seen on a stage.

With Eva Johansen (Caravan of Love) directing, the comedy is tight and the clowning is allowed to reveal some heart.

It's assumed that the audience known their Pirates – which is a pretty safe assumption – but there's room to share more of the story, and maybe make their own stage story run parallel to a ridiculous Gilbert plot or tell us more about why they love G&S. And they don't need to be scared about filling the room with sound; those Courtroom rafters can suck away a lot of voice.

It's a hoot for G&S fans (yes, there's a sing-along bit), but fun enough for those who don't get the paradox joke. (Although, "pair of Docs" was pretty funny.)

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