Reviewed by Dany Margolies, reprinted courtesy of www.ArtsInLA.com
Until this one-person show gets a revamping, the subtitle suffices for storytelling, because the production adds almost nothing extra. “The Lost Journal of Grace O’Malley, the Pirate Queen of Connaught” reveals the setup, the who, and the where. It is hoped Sandra Caruso decides to go further with this work, creating a meaningful story told with more apt acting choices to build her character.
O’Malley was a pirate in 1500s Ireland. In researching her, Caruso discovered O’Malley is her ancestor. So far, so interesting. But the script (original concept by Caruso, written by M.E. Marino), framed by septuagenarian O’Malley’s memories as she reads her journal, sounds like a list of facts, though revealed with attempts at poetry. “I need to fill a void in me heart,” O’Malley says after her first husband dies. “I am without roots.” And so forth.
Caruso is a lovely presence, and the production is nicely appointed with appealing lighting and evocative video. But, playing a female pirate, she should be using her outdoor voice, and clichéd postures such as one foot up on a box, one hand on hip, distracts more than it ever creates character. The thick Irish accent could benefit from a rethink, also.
A firmer hand from director Rhonda Kohl might ensure Caruso links up O’Malley’s thoughts, and Caruso’s repeated glances at the journal again distract and occasionally make the audience wonder if she’s peeking at a script outline.
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