ROBINSON CRUSOE AND THE CARIBBEAN PIRATES: Michael Harrison and Brian Conley
Runs: 2h 30m, one interval, till 27 January 2013
Review: Alexander Ray Edser, 20 12 2012
Marvellous fun. Lots and lots of laughs.
This surely is a most spectacular swashbuckling extravaganza. It looks stunning and the range of special effects will fill young an old(er) wish amazement. A magic car, a huge monster, floating ship and flying shell – it’s all here.
This having been said, it’s also true that the strength of this seasonal offering lies also in the performances – you simply can’t imagine Brian Conley and the team being thrust into the shadows however powerful the pyrotechnics.
Conley, as Robinson Crusoe, leads the team with customary gusto. His comedy is warm and direct. In the Hippodrome’s large space he has the knack of becoming everybody’s best friend; his energy never flags. There are moments of superbly inconsequential business – the good-humoured cheek of it all adds much to the fun. Conley is a showman through and through, this is terrific.
In the high-spirited shenanigans he is well aided and abetted by Andrew Ryan as Mum – Mrs Crusoe . . . and how do designers keep managing to think up more and more outrageous outfits? Ryan then fits his performance to his wardrobe. Lesley Joseph is a refreshingly knowing Enchantress, with Kathryn Rooney creating a sparky Polly. Gavin Woods brings Blackheart the Pirate to life and ensures we all love to hate him.
Michael Harrison, who directs, keeps it all moving along at a cracking pace. Karen Bruce’s choreography is sharp and the band ensure it all goes with a great swing.
(Credits will follow)