The Man Whose Mother was a Pirate: The Musical - Reviewed by Zac Fitzgibbon | Regional News Connecting Wellington

The Man Whose Mother was a Pirate: The Musical

Written by: Nino Raphael

Directed by: Nino Raphael

The Welsh Dragon Bar, Weds 6th Mar 2024

Reviewed by: Zac Fitzgibbon

The Man Whose Mother Was a Pirate: The Musical sets sail off the pages of Margaret Mahy’s treasured children’s picture book of the same name. The story follows Sam (Taipuhi King) as he finally breaks free from his job as an accountant to join his pirate mother (Hilary Norris) on the high seas.

Drawing from the Mahy classic, master composer and lyricist Nino Raphael has created catchy tunes with words that roll off the tongues of the performers. The sea shanties and patter songs are superb, with a highlight being Sam’s ditty about auditing his mother’s books. I would love there to be a wider variety of songs, as I feel this would enhance the musical even more.

Raphael is fantastic on concertina, guitar, and piano. Who needs a philharmonic orchestra when you have a one-man band providing sensational accompaniment and support? He is fantastic at leading both the cast and the audience. We essentially become the ensemble, filling the quaint venue of The Welsh Dragon Bar with lively, rowdy joy. I hope that in future renditions of this show, audience interaction remains a focal point.

All the performers have stunning vocals and a strong grasp of the music despite having a short rehearsal period. They embody their roles – inspired by the original story – with distinct, hilarious characterisations. I understand the musical is intended to be longer and am very curious to see how the characters would grow and develop when given more time on stage, especially Mr Fat (Adam Herbert).

Whilst this is their (sold out!) development season, I am extremely impressed. I can see this upbeat, energetic show becoming incredibly popular. I am very privileged to have caught the first-ever performance, as well as The Welsh Dragon Bar’s Fringe Festival debut. I hope that The Man Whose Mother was a Pirate: The Musical continues to catch the wind in its sails and travels far.

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