Review: (Ottawa / Theatre) Much Ado About Feckin' Pirates
Much Ado About Feckin’ Pirates? Feckin’ Impressive by Robyn Lester @RobinRobynRob
It was with some trepidation that I entered The Gladstone for the opening night of Much Ado About Feckin’ Pirates. Directed by Al Connors, starring Richard Gélinas and Margo MacDonald, this play is unusual in that the content is largely improvised around a few key plot points and topics voted on by the audience prior to the show. Typically I enjoy improv, but whenever I go to an improvised show I feel the same way I do before a blind date. I say that prayer that everything will go alright. That there won’t be any long awkward silences. That I’ll actually find them funny and entertaining. Luckily, any fear on my part was completely unnecessary. Gélinas and MacDonald had me, and the entire audience, laughing the whole way through.
It started with a missing parrot and two pirates banished to the crow’s nest for fighting. Tied up, completely immobile, the actors had only their words and their imaginations to keep us engaged. I was incredibly impressed with their ability to, not only think up such hilarious scenarios and stories, but to express them with such vivid imagery. All while remaining in character. It was hard to believe it was improvised. The segue from one topic to the next felt natural, the interaction between them was believable, and the comedy wasn’t forced. They seemed to be having as much fun as the audience was. I also thought the use of lighting was quite clever. With no script, and no way of knowing how much time was left, the lighting acted as a visual cue to move things along and wrap things up. It was subtle, but played an important role in keeping the actors from droning on, something that can easily happen when improvising.
Of course, no two shows will be the same. And to prove it, they have a promotion going on. Hold onto your ticket stub and you can come back and watch it again for free, provided you bring a friend who buys a ticket. So do yourself a favour and go see it! There’s no reason not to.