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Friday, August 6, 2010


(Pic: Top to bottom: Jessica Sole, Rory Booth, Brendon Mendez, Lyle Buxton and Bandile Hlope)

Fun pirate party aboard uShaka’s Phantom Ship. (Review by Caroline Smart)

Described correctly in the press material as a “light-hearted musical and interactive dinner experience”, The Buccaneers doesn’t aim to classify as supper theatre. Running at the Upper Deck on board the Phantom Ship at uShaka Marine World, it’s definitely a party piece, allowing for plenty of ad-libbing and audience participation. On arrival, guests can choose an item of pirate apparel – an eye patch, kerchief, earring or a hook – and tonight’s audience cheerfully entered into the fray. In fact, tonight the pirate chief found his match in the volunteer for the sabre fight!

However, it’s a great idea and I believe producer Wayne Scott and director Charon Williams-Ros should look at expanding it further into a two-acter as it begs for more interaction between the individual characters. Once the ship’s crew is overtaken by the pirates – an impressive explosive scene, to be sure! - they tend to fade into the background until they reclaim their ship. More could be done with what’s going on from their perspective.

Rory Booth (Calico Tom) and Brendon Mendez (Smelly Pete) provide much of the fun and nonsense as the two eager but none-too-bright – think two skull-and-crossbones short of a cutlass! – members of the pirate crew. As the pirate chief, Bandile Hlope cuts a suitably intimidating figure as Dread Pirate Roberts with Lyle Buxton as the intoxicated Rugged Rob.

The ship’s crew is headed by Rikki Hastings, a swashbuckling figure attractively kitted out in pantomime prince style attended by a completely unrecognisable Krystle Temmerman as the bawdy Bloody Anne. Providing glamour, dance and bodies beautiful are Jessica Sole, Roxy Nel, Dominique Mann, Natalie Dennis and Juliet Downes.

Expect to hear rousing numbers like Whisky In the Jar; Ready to Run; Day-O; Black and Gold; Bad Romance; We Are Golden and Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough.

The dialogue is amusing, I enjoyed Daisy Spencer’s choreography and Peter Court’s costumes are a delight. As always, the live band under the musical direction of Shemual Mahabeer is well-balanced and the musicians wear their pirate gear with panache.

On opening night, the show was a bit unprepared but this is something that will correct itself. It runs without interval but guests are invited to stay on and dance afterwards.

The Buccaneers runs every Thursday to Saturday until September 4. Booking is via Computicket. Tickets R169 include the show and the buffet dinner (I particularly enjoy their fried aubergines). There’s a complimentary cocktail on arrival as guests find themselves drawn into the atmosphere with serving wenches and pirates creating a vibrant scene. For more information call 031 328 8107. – Caroline Smart