May & Alia do Pirates! (of Penzance)
Edmonton Fringe Festival
I love Pirates of Penzance. With a passion.
And that makes it very hard to be objective in this review. Because on the plus side, I can’t help but be completely chuffed to hear this music, and to see it being done onstage. G&S shows are fantastic, but they just are not done enough anymore. So it was lovely to hear some of my favourite G&S tunes.
However, it was very, very hard to hear those same tunes be butchered with low-quality canned music and singing that is amateur at best.
This is where I take exception with the broad spectrum of ‘clowning’. May & Alia describe their Pirates to be a clown show. So does that mean the weak singing and unrehearsed tone of the show is merely part of the clowning experience? In turn, can anything onstage be excused as being ‘in clown’? Honestly, I don’t know. But I feel that when one takes on the quasi-classical style music of Gilbert & Sullivan, one must have the pipes to back it up.
There were several funny moments, and it is quite a clever premise. But I cannot excuse the amateur vocals and the feeling of disorganization present throughout.