7/10/2021 HOW I BECAME A PIRATE Destination Theatre / Horizon Theatre
Jessica Jacob is up for an adventure! One she can finish in time for soccer practice. Just in time, she meets Captain Braidbeard and a motley band of .... pirates? The pirates are looking for a “Digger” and Jessica happens to have a plastic Beach Shovel, so, Perfect! She’s a fine new recruit (a good one to boot)!
Based on the popular kid book by Melinda Long and David Shannon, How I Became a Pirate is a tuneful adventure (for the young) from newcomers Destination Theatre Company, hosted by Horizon Theatre outdoors, a perfect Saturday Excursion for families and swashbucklers! Unless it rains. Arggggh!
Sure this scurvy lot of brigands are so nice and pleasant they could be singing Gilbert & Sullivan (and indeed “Read this Map” recalls G&S patter songs of yore.), sure the adventure is figuring out where to bury the booty (and yes, there is an appropriately vague “Booty” joke for Mom and Dad to silently chuckle at). But for a bored youngster, that IS an adventure!
More relevant, there are laughs a-plenty and the score (by Janet Yates Vogt & Mark Friedman) is a bouncy delight (it is downloadable, and in fact, I’m listening to it now). Songs like “Talk Like a Pirate,” “A Good One to Boot,” “Pirates Dot Arrgh,” and “How I Became a Pirate” combine the tropes of kid’s musicals and sea chanties, and, as mentioned above, even a little G&S.
This is a young and talented cast. Zemirah Davis is an energetic and sassy Jessica who isn’t afraid to go toe-to-toe with a band of scurvy buccaneers. Anthony Nash is wonderful as Captain Braidbeard. The crew is filled out with Amy Duffy as Max (whose stuffed fluffy parrot as almost as good as the real thing), Destiny Freeman as Swill (whose vacant manner belies an encyclopedic knowledge of facts and trivia), Colby Johnson as Pierre (the crew’s French
gourmet chef), and Barry Westmoreland as Sharktooth (the 2nd most feared rover of the seven seas). Together they become a dandy ensemble of likeable marauders.
Ms. Duffy also is music director and choreographer and approaches both tasks with tongue fully planted in cheek, making the whole experience a delight for young and old. All are wrangled beautifully by director Cory Phelps, who hopes “Destination Theatre can broaden the place for art in your heart.”
Sure, Mom and Dad know that pirates are really despicable villains who usually deserve a fate at the end of a sword. a rope, or a gangplank. But, for some reason, popular children’s books downplay the viciousness and highlight the adventure and goofyness and eccentricity. How I Became a Pirate is a fine addition to that trope, and nay-sayers who insist on reminding young readers and viewers that a REAL pirate would rather eat their hearts and tickle their funny bones, well, you deserve a lonely old age and a scurvy end.
-- Brad Rudy (BKRudy@aol.com @bk_rudy #HowIBecameAPirate #DestinationTheatre #HorizonTheatre)