Review: The Buccaneers (AMA Theatre, online)

The Buccaneers is a rollicking tale of the pirate life; a delightfully silly two-person musical comedy set on the high seas. It is AMA Theatre’s latest production and my first look at their work – the company are based in Letchworth, Hertfordshire.

Intended to be presented on the stage but held back through the pandemic, it was made in digital format instead. Never fear though, me hearties, it is coming back where it belongs on a live stage very soon.

Created, performed and filmed by Annie Albici and Ian Britten-Hull, who play all the parts between them, this show bursts into song at every turn and revels in every cliche and bad pun.

Screencap from The Buccaneers

As Albici’s calm Anne Bonny (we last met her in A Mutineer’s Guide to Modern Day Piracy) and her three daft henchmen tell us their stories, they weave a deeply enjoyable show which made me laugh a lot. The acting is rippingly OTT, and the songs well chosen.

Technical limitations are dealt with well without a great flourish (great use of backgrounds, repetition and other tricks) and The Buccaneers proceeds in traditional panto style, leaving you rolling in the virtual aisles.

The wigs and beards are terrible in the best possible way, and the scene-chewing ‘Jack Calico’, surely the curious cousin of Sparrow of the Caribbean, steals the show. Some feat with Albici’s amusing and mysterious Bates and the mad Scot of Culloden around.

Jack Calico, The Buccaneers

With the folk tunes, the silly word games (which reminded me of the riddles in the old TV quiz 321), and the tales of woe with their playful tone, Albici and Britten-Hall have succeeded in presenting a fun piece which has its tongue firmly in cheek.

Taking inspiration from Captain Pugwash, Treasure Island, The Pirates of Penzance and the folk songs of Ireland, The Buccaneers is well worth a look. AMA Theatre are a fab team who do all their productions themselves and have done a lovely job here.

You can book to see this digital version at (£5). The live version goes on tour with two additional cast members from the end of August, and you can find details at the same address.

Look out also for their upcoming show for Christmas, Jack and the Beanstalk!

LouReviews received complimentary access to review The Buccaneers.