May and Alia do Pirates (of Penzance) - Songs in Every Style

Fringe Description: Funny · Silly · Musical

If asked what to expect at this show, I'd say it’s the kind of thing you’d expect if Laurel and Hardy took on this “jewel in the light operatic musical theatre oeuvre”.  Except this time we have a couple of talented Aussie women doing the mis-matched buddy schtick.

Following a bit of an awkward start, the gears and gags accelerate and it’s clear that these women can sing and harmonize very well indeed while moving us through the Penzance libretto at a good clip.

Using minimal props (they did come all the way from down under) and rapid hat changes, we’re served up the plot and the songs in every style from the usually arranged version of Very Model of a Modern Major General (sort of) and the Pirate King’s song to a version done in torch song style and another to Andrew’s Sisters‘ swing harmonies.

Be prepared for some audience participation, especially in the classic pirates and police battle during which there’s a lovely bit of updating the script with some contemporary policing practice jargon.  The whole thing is loaded with classical and pop culture mash ups and even a sly swipe at Wikipedia.  

I particularly loved the final song.  May and Alia’s version of Hail Poetry was as touching as it was beautifully done.

By Lisa Barrett