When I’m watching a play I don’t like, and i’m in close proximity to complete strangers or within grasping distance of an usher I worry that I’ll develop Tourette’s right there and then. I struggle with a tension to sit on my hands, at my age, as I visualise me, springing to my feet and yelling something quite rude and inappropriate. Vibe killer and all round embarrassment. Pirate Project had me fighting the urge to let off a stream of creative cussing.
It’s a piece about women pirates seemingly written for very patient twenty year olds, in fact when a character references her actual age of 36 it jars because the execution of the play is frisky and juvenile.
It’s a shame that it’s not ready for the stage because the stories of these three women pirates are new to me. The three actors are exuberant, it feels like their improvised parts are authentic but the writing is too chaotic to provide a consistent tone. There are about three different plays going on here. The historic and factual account of the women pirates, the contemporary quest of the actresses to locate their ‘pirate-hood’ and the survival skills of women pioneers.
I liked the way the set was used and there’s a scene where the characters emerge that works well as a montage. There are some interesting ideas that could probably do with being worked through.
The messiness of the material is added to by some self indulgent staging. Fight scenes that go way to long although the music choices work very well.
There are interviews with independent minded women in their pension years which are projected on to the stage. The sound is terrible and at one point a character conceits to interact with them as though the interview were happening in real time and it’s a distraction and not smooth enough to gel as a device.
If you like a bit of audience participation then you will be charmed at the outset and if you remember Lord Of The Rings-Return Of The King you’ll be less enamoured of the multiple endings.
Pirate Project is part of the OUTLAWS season at Oval House, the play runs until 2nd June.
Right, I got through that without a single aargh.