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Pansexual Pregnant Piracy | Soho Theatre

Pansexual Pregnant Piracy is a wonderfully wild and wacky retelling of eighteenth century pirate Anne Bonny, with an emphasis on a fun-filled venture into breaking the gender norms, queer love and freedom of expression. Co-created by Eleanor Colville, Rosanna Suppa and Robbie Taylor Hunt, and directed by Robbie Taylor Hunt, it follows Anne as she breaks free of society's expectations of her as a lady. Anne disguises herself as a man and becomes a pirate, taking to the seas as she embarks on the swashbuckling adventures that come with this new life. 

The cast compromises of the three creators and they are joined by Elizabeth Chu. Colville is an excellent, endearing, yet insufferable Captain Calico Jack and brings a sense of rowdiness to the show. Hunt as Ivanna the Parrot is a brilliant sub-plot, always hoping to become the protagonist and brings angst with the character. Hunt's cabaret inspired musical moment is a fabulously random addition but adds credibility to the play. Chu manages to bring sweetness and fire to Pirate Mary. Suppa is the show's stand out performer, balancing Anne's inner turmoil and farcical physical comedy elements, along with some pretty impressive roundhouse kicks. The cast have a knack for physical comedy, word play, puns and an innuendo-filled script, it's absolutely chaos and the show thrives in this environment. 

The staging is colourful (Caitlin Mawhinney) - with glittery curtains, fallen sails, treasure chests and a transportable cupboard shaped as a stack of barrels. The set immediately sets the tone for a barrel of laughter and mirth of the madness that lies ahead. The costumes (Mawhinney) are quite accurate, with the three pirates adorning slight variations of the stereotypical pirate costume - hats, buckles, blouses, baggy shirts and boots provide finishing touches, which often double into props or topics of discussion to delve into. A four way physical duel and verbal confrontations results in a cleverly choreographed battle of wills. Choreographed by Enric Ortuńo, it resembles the well organised chaos that fills the beloved Pirates of the Caribbean fights. 

Anne makes several strong and important points about the place of women in society, and the level of sacrifice that freedom costs. In passionate and angry rants, Anne describes the struggles that were faced in the eighteenth century, most of which are sadly still relevant and relatable. The show, however suffers from leaning into the highly exaggerated elements slightly too much, undermining the strong and valid points it makes. With a strong musical number calling out society's hypocrisy and rejecting the extreme measures and old fashioned mentality, it's a promising start. The plot suffers when it dedicates nearly the entire middle portion to Anne's sexual encounters, slowing the progressive pacing to a standstill until the show's final quarter. 

Pansexual Pregnant Piracy provides a fun foothold into embracing queer theatre. With something for everyone, (above the age of sixteen,) it's a lovable gang of bandits that are bringing justice into the world, albeit in an unorthodox way. Funny, chaotic and thematically important, Pansexual Pregnant Piracy is fun night out. Pansexual Pregnant Piracy runs at Soho Theatre until 13th April - for more information and tickets, you can follow the link here.


AD | gifted tickets in return for an honest review | photography by Cam Harle


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