Review by Ana Obradovic
Venue: The Jade
When: 22 February
Lauren and Alicia, hosts of Adelaide podcast Deviant Women, jubilantly bring their high-energy exploration of women who “challenge the status quo” to the Adelaide Fringe for the second year in a row.
This time embodying the spirits of best-friend pirate duo Anne Bonny and Mary Read, the pair present a hilarious and (almost entirely) historically faithful performance that details how these two women, born in the stifling 17th century, overturned their preordained role as subservient females to become notorious, foul-mouthed, occasionally naked, swashbucklers of the Caribbean.
Lady Pirates smoothly mixes comedic storytelling and theatre with occasional, light-handed song and dance. Its myriad supporting characters (all played by Lauren and Alicia) are brought to life with the simple swap of a hat, or by the donning of a particularly sparkly yellow vest that could only have been worn by a pirate whose real, historically-recorded title was Pierre the Pansy Pirate (“the best dressed pirate of the Seven Seas”). Add to this an element of spontaneity that runs throughout the show (thanks to improvised audience interaction and the comradely joshing between the two women), and the show becomes imbued with a dynamism that feels unique.
There is a distinct sense that each performance is exclusive, and for this audience only.
The set compliments the story through the use of funny, animated projections that serve as a backdrop. These orient the tale and add dimension to the show’s more serious moments. The emotional highs and lows in the tale of Anne and Mary are performed with conviction, and the story is sprinkled with a casual but sharp commentary on the stifling injustices of the gender constructs. References to other iconic, female best-friend duos are hidden throughout, and audience information recall is even tested at the end of the show.
The creative 90-minute show flies by in a whirl of hilarious, high-energy performance. In the words of a woman overheard in line for the bathroom after the show: “Its the most fun way I’ve ever been taught about the past.”
Catch their last show playing 6pm tonight at The Jade.