Monday, April 2, 2007

Arts: Review: Theater: The Pirate Queen

The Pirate Queen. Playing at the Hilton Theatre.

Underneath the forgettable lyrics and bland set designs, there is a worthwhile story in The Pirate Queen. Unfortunately, the writers of Les Miserables & Miss Saigon (Alain Boublil, Claude-Michel Schönberg) didn’t get it right this time. Set in sixteenth century Europe, this musical is based on the real-life heroics of Grace O’Malley (Stephanie J. Block, The Boy from Oz), the first woman to lead an Irish clan. Her biggest problem: Queen Elizabeth I (Linda Balgord), who will do anything to bring her down. Sounds empowering—two women in charge at a time when women had no power at all—yet the musical manages to bury the heart of the plot deep within elaborate dance sequences and unnecessary story tangents. (Structure is everything, people!) And then there are the sporadic accents, the over-abundance of gyrating pelvises and the pathetic fight scenes. Still, take a trip to the beautiful Hilton Theatre if you love Riverdance or you want to hear Block’s powerhouse voice. Plus, Hadley Fraser as the male lead is delicious. But get student tickets or you’ll really hate yourself at the end of the evening.

Rating: Even Johnny Depp couldn’t have saved this sinking ship.

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