Scavenger Hunt...Aarrgh! Avast Ye! | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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Scavenger Hunt...Aarrgh! Avast Ye!

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Scavenger Hunt...Aarrgh! Avast Ye!, Open Eye Productions, at the Greenview Arts Center. For the first five minutes or so, David P. Skvarla's swashbuckling epic is nothing short of exhilarating. The play's premise--a group of aged, creaky-kneed pirates band together for one last hurrah--has true potential, and the opening sequence does a great job of introducing the play's characters and foreshadowing later events. But unfortunately Scavenger Hunt quickly grows horribly stale. When Skvarla gets bored with one of his pirate heroes, he adds another. When he gets bored with pirates, he adds zombies. When the zombies grow dull, he turns them into pirates. And when pirates, zombies, and zombie-pirates finally become tedious, Skvarla adds ninjas, necromancers, and bounty hunters.

In the hands of Sam Raimi or the Hanna-Barbera animation studio, this kitchen-sink approach might have worked. But with up to 12 actors--and a dozen different accents and dialects--onstage at any given time, this play is too sloppy and convoluted to capitalize on its promise. Skvarla ought to know better, especially after his scene-stealing turn last summer as the nefarious Cardinal Richelieu in The Three Musketeers. Emanon's adaptation of the classic Alexandre Dumas novel had a simple charm and tightly choreographed stage combat, but Skvarla's pirate script can't claim either. The only act of piracy being committed here is at the box office. --Nick Green

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