Dec 8, 2018
Reviewed by Malena Eljumaily
If you are looking for a live show to take the family to this holiday season, look no further than Cloverdale Performing Arts Center where both scalawags and elves are having a rollicking good time in Yo Ho Ho, a Pirate’s Christmas! Even if that exclamation mark hadn’t been included in the official title, I’d have added it because this show is so much fun, it deserves some over-the-top punctuation!
This bright exuberant musical, directed by Amy Lovato, begins on Christmas Eve, as a young girl named Eve (Maisy Gibson) sings her wish list to Santa. She is an independent spirit who refuses to be hampered by gender stereotypes. Yes, this is a PC show, though the characters have plenty of fun with that aspect of it.
Eve finally nods off to sleep and we are transported to the high seas, where Black-Eyed Johnny (Bret Palmer) leads his band of misfit pirates on a hunt for treasure. Unfortunately, they are off course and wind up at the North Pole. This creates more problems than expected as these scurvy dogs have never seen snow before and don’t even know what to call it.
Eve, now an elf called Eve Christmas, sees the pirates and warns her family and the other elves, but they dismiss it as another of her fanciful imaginings. Chaos ensues when the two sides collide, including a massive fight with swords against candy canes. As tense as the situation is, the meeting results in a delightful musical number where pirates singing Yo, Ho, Ho go up against the North Pole denizens, now including Santa (Dan Stryker) and Mrs. Claus (Marisha Zeffer) singing Ho, Ho, Ho.
The musical numbers are all very upbeat and enjoyable. Kudos to Karen Lovato for her costume design where every pirate has a special look and most of the tropes are covered. The elf costumes are enchanting, as well.
There are occasional opportunities for audience participation, so keep your eyes and ears open and you might be able to help out the pirates or the elves.
Come early and make a Christmas craft in the lobby. And don’t forget to have your picture taken with one or more of the cast members after the show.
Yo Ho Ho, a Pirate’s Christmas! with book by James J. Mellon, music and lyrics by James J. Mellon andScott DeTurk is a treasure. The whole idea of a pirate Christmas musical is refreshing and unexpected and I hope it soon becomes a holiday tradition like fruit cake and watching the yule log burning on TV.
This is the end of another great season for Cloverdale Performing Arts Center.I’m glad they are concluding with such a fun and funny production that the whole family can enjoy.
Yave Guzman, Artistic Director, Theater Manager
Photos by John Gobeille
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