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What’s the hardest part of being a pirate? “The eye liner,” says Cap’n Jack Swallow – a great porn name if I ever heard one – in “Parrot Heads of the Caribbean,” the latest offering of StarBrite Presents Dinner Theater at the Uptown Eatery in Southfield.
Personally, I’d have thought it was keeping a straight face, since this silly, but often VERY funny musical murder mystery has more puns and double entendres flying around than Johnny Depp has Golden Globe nominations.
It wasn’t so much the script by Ed Thomas that had the audience laughing last Saturday night as it was the improvisational skills exhibited by some of its actors. Because what started off on a somewhat stiff and shaky note morphed into a very relaxed “give-and-take” with the audience that got funnier as the evening progressed. (This must not have been easy for director Randy Magner’s six actors, since the initially non-responsive audience seemed scared to death – not of the hunky pirate, but of being brought into the story!)
Set inside Havana’s Margaritaville Cantina, Cap’n Jack awakens from a drunken stupor to seek revenge on the person who killed his parrot and stole the treasure map he kept hidden inside a salt shaker in the parrot’s cage. There are plenty of suspects, of course. But when one of them is killed, Cap’n Jack must not only find the map, but clear himself of murder.
It’s not so much the resolution that matters in this frothy production – it’s somewhat convoluted. Rather, it’s the actors’ interpretations of their characters that make this production a hoot.
Claire Shinkman has all the right moves as former high society matron-turned-hooker Mint Julep. Her saucy performance is filled with nicely delivered, yet cheap and easy laughs – a perfect fit for such a character – yet some flew right over the heads of the recently-fed audience.
Also thoroughly delightful is the gorgeous Vanessa Grayson who’s totally convincing as wide-eyed, dumb-as-a-stick Brandy Alexander.
And Wayne A. Bibbs as Rusty Nail – he suffers from erectile dysfunction – delivers some of the evening’s best impromptu zingers.
But it’s Michael Lane as Cap’n Jack who commands the stage. Built like a superstar from the WWE – and looking damn good in a pair of tights and open shirt – Lane does a fine job as the sweet, soft-spoken, Depp-inspired pirate.
‘Parrot Heads of the Caribbean’
StarBrite Presents Dinner Theater at the Uptown Eatery, 19701 W. 12 Mile Road, Southfield. Fri.-Sat., through March 24. Tickets: $39.95 (which includes three-course dinner, show and tax). For information: (248) 423-1452 or http://www.starbriteprod.com