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Posing Strap Pirates

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POSING STRAP PIRATES, Bailiwick Repertory. An amalgam of schoolboy maritime adventure and Harlequin romance, Posing Strap Pirates has the flavor of class reunion sketches: clever, sloppy, good-natured, and designed for insiders. The tale of how the virginal Toye Buck is kidnapped by the pirates of the Cutlass Supreme, wooed by Captain Rick Matelot, but won by cabin boy Beau Ideal is as silly as the characters' names. Playwright Michael Van Duzer provides little plot--the piece ends at what feels like intermission--yet director Jeff Jones and his cast conjure momentum out of overplayed asides to the audience and generous displays of beautiful bodies. As Captain Matelot ("That's Mah-tuh-low," he insists, futilely), Aaron Carpenter is the archetypal brooding romantic hero, domineering in everything but ultimately subdued by love. Andrew Ritter's Beau is his opposite, with the golden glow Michael York had in his prime. Steven Strafford stands out as Bilge, the twisted old tar who complains, "I've studied Chekhov!"; he showcases a spectacular voice in an utterly anachronistic song. The only weak link is Angel Casey as Toye's governess, whose combination of a French accent and a squeaky voice makes her lines incomprehensible. In any case, the author gives her little to do--he must think a pirate ship is no place for a woman. The hour-long show, part of Bailiwick's Pride Series, isn't a full evening's entertainment; it's more like an appetizer--but a tasty one.

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