King Kekaulike High School's "The Lady Pirates of Captain Bree" is one rollicking, swashbuckling night of theater. Don't take it from me, though. Listen to what my 7-year-old daughter, who is quite a seasoned theater-goer, had to say as we sauntered out of what passes for the high school's theater (this is a first-rate theater program, it deserves a real theater, but that's another story ):
"I don't know, mom. That one's gonna be hard to beat!"
This from the girl who squirmed through most of the multimillion- dollar Disney production of "Mary Poppins" - a show that cost us nearly a cool million for four tickets. The fact that every audience member on Saturday night probably agreed with Skylar is a testament to King Kelkaulike's committed director, Chris Kepler, and his talented, energetic cast.
Kiko Galpin (from left) Shawn Naone-Burger and Claire Wilkins are pirates of Pukalani.
Claire Wilkins stars as the adorably arrrghy Captain Bree. She has a reputation as one of the most ruthless mercenaries on the Spanish Main, and her handy defeat of the Kayla May's reticent Captain Jennings seems to underscore this rumor. So what if she never actually gets around to keelhauling a single prisoner? Fortuitous omens like a magical pod of dolphins keep interfering with the actual carrying out of her dastardly threats.
Like most of her kind-hearted crew, Captain Bree just wants a little respect, and to be treated like a lady. Wilkins is so much fun to watch as she careens about the stage, dances a jig with her mates and shares a tender moment with Jennings (adeptly played by Shawn Naone-Burger).
Gigi Robinson is nothing short of brilliant as snooty Madam Prescot. She puts everything she's got into embodying her larger-than-life character. The result is professional-quality physical humor (watch how she handles the unruly Georgian wig she must endure wearing for the bulk of the production - unforgettable!)
*"The Lady Pirates of Captain Bree" takes this weekend off, then resumes its run May 7, 8 and 9 in the King Kekaulike cafeteria/mini-theater. Showtimes are 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $4 for students and $6 for adults, available at the door a half hour before showtimes.
*Seabury Hall's 22nd Annual Dance Showcase runs in Seabury's Performance Studio at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $11 for adults, $9 for seniors and $5 for students. Call 573-1257 for reservations.
But the production's best moments are when the ensemble shares the stage for musical numbers like "Thar Be a Man for Every Wench" and "We're a Nasty Lot."
What makes this show really work is the warmth and excitement that emanates from the cast. These kids are having the time of their lives and they're going to make sure you have the time of yours. Bring your own scalawags and hop on board. This one's hard to beat!
Seabury Hall's 22nd Annual Dance Showcase celebrates dance traditions from around the world and ends with an homage to the late, great sparkly-glove-sporting King of Pop. The show opens with the hula "Ka'oionapua," which the Seabury ensemble presented at the National High School Dance Festival in Miami last month, then presents such varied interpretations as the sensuous (but very funny) "Tango y No," the provocative belly-dance-inspired "Middle Eastern Reverie" (one of my favorites) and lively Bollywood shout-out "Jai Ho" from the Oscar-winning film "Slumdog Millionaire."
Senior Drew Streb choreographed the endearing "Spare Change." Accompanied by some well-selected, gritty Tom Waits tunes, the dance tells the story of two naive, down-and-out lovers who fall prey to leather-clad ne'er-do-wells.
The tribute to Michael Jackson is so much fun, I thought some audience members might leap from their seats and join the dancers on stage, especially when the ensemble lapsed into the hip-thrusting, finger-popping sequence from "Beat It." I won't spoil the surprise, but the showstopping finale is one usually performed on or around October 31 - let's just say it's absolutely thrilling.