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Courtesy of Roanoke Children's Theater
Caroline Rigby stars as Jeremy Jacob and Drew Dowdy stars as Captain Braid Beard.
Saturday, October 19, 2013
Timbers were certainly shivered as Roanoke Children's Theatre took to the high seas to open its sixth season with the rollicking musical "How I Became a Pirate."
The tender and amusing tale - suitable for kids pre-school age and older - is a swashbuckling adventure with vibrant costumes and creative choreography. It grabs the attention of theatergoers of all ages and holds on tight for the hour-long romp.
A band of merry marauders arrive at North Beach, the home of Jeremy Jacob , who is playing with a toy shovel along the shore. The pirates need a new crew member to help bury their treasure and, impressed with Jeremy Jacob's digging prowess, invite the child to join them on their ship.
In the book by author Melinda Long , Jeremy Jacob is a boy. In this production of the musical, the character is a girl played by actress Caroline Rigby , who lends the perfect child-like spirit to the role.
At first, life at sea with Captain Braid Beard and his fun-loving crew seems like a blast to Jeremy Jacob. Table manners? Highly discouraged. Bedtime? Not on this vessel. Other than swabbing the deck and seeking places to hide their booty, there aren't a lot of chores here.
The pirates educate their newest colleague on proper jargon ("Mom's in a bad mood" translates to "Thar she blows!") and Jeremy Jacob introduces her friends to the joy of soccer.
But the sea is not always so calm, and soon Jeremy Jacob starts to miss a few things about home , such as bedtime stories and dental hygiene.
The story is sweet without being gooey, and the moral of the tale is that while adventure is fun, there really is no place like home. The laughs are plentiful for the kids and the script includes a few jokes thrown in for the adults - including references to the movie "Castaway" and the '60s television show "Gilligan's Island."
The entire cast of buccaneers does an outstanding job of maintaining the high energy of a story that held the attention of a nearly sold-out crowd during last Thursday's opening night performance. Drew Dowdy plays the good-natured captain with Johnny Depp-like swagger. Actor Brian O'Sullivan is a hoot as the eye patch-wearing pirate Sharktooth, nearly stealing the show with his solo song "I'm Just a Sensitive Guy."
The child actors in this performance (the kids rotate nights on stage) included RCT veterans Noah Oldham , Camryn Sullivan and Kalley Sullivan with Anna Tate making her debut in the company. The young actors did an outstanding job with the fast-paced songs and ShaLeigh Comerford's delightfully energetic choreography.
"How I Became a Pirate" is a goofy good time that is entertaining for the whole family.
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