Pirates Take Christmas Review

Yo ho ho and a bottle of...eggnog?

Pirates Take Christmas puts a seasonal spin on the Pirates Dinner Adventure, the action-filled musical stunt show that entertains us with Vampirates every October. If you have seen the latter, you have some idea what to expect from the holiday version, which follows the same template while changing details to create a kinder, gentler Pirate Adventure. Pirates Take Christmas is funnier and more upbeat; even if your prefer Halloween horror to Christmas cheer, the good vibes will win you over.

The setup is the same: guests arrive early to enjoy a drink at one of the bars before the pre-show begins; then pirates arrive to commit a kidnapping (in this case, Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus instead of a pair of vampire hunters). Then the audience is divided into six groups, each of which becomes a cheering section for its designated pirate, and led into the main theatre, where the rest of the show takes place.

Pirates Take Christmas features familiar highlights (trapeze work, sword fights, a cutthroat competition, a swearing-in ceremony for some children from the audience), but the story casts the scurvy crew in a more flattering light: they may be pirates, but their Captain is not so far gone that he wants to ruin Christmas; it's only the treacherous first mate who has gone too far - at least until he sways a few mutineers to his side, leading to desperate battle to save the Captain, the Clauses, and Christmas itself.

Pirates Christmas Adventure review
The fearsome pirate ship seems bedecked with Christmas lights.

What results is a tongue-in-cheek frolic, in which even bad guys prove themselves possessed of human kindness, capable of surrendering to the spirit of the season. It's played for laughs of course, but it's also rather sweet, with the frantic action and stunts adding just enough of a hard edge to keep things from getting too syrupy.

As usual, the versatility of the cast is amazing. Almost everyone is called upon to act, sing, swing, fight, and jump on trampolines. It's like watching a decathlon mixed with musical numbers. The songs and background score (prerecorded music with live vocal performances) consist mostly of traditional Christmas tunes (e.g., Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker) rendered with energetic prog-rock arrangements (think Trans-Siberian Orchestra).

The presentation of Pirates Take Christmas is slightly less elaborate than that of Vampirates: the areas outside the main theatre have not been decorated for the season, but there are some Christmas-looking lights decorating the pirate galleon itself. The meal that comes with the price of admission is very good, and the specialty drinks at the bar are excellent. All that's missing is a bottle of rum and a bowl of eggnog.

Pirates Take Christmas Rating
4

Bottom Line

This seasonal spin on the Pirates Dinner Adventure is a fun-filled frolic that’s played for laughs while still capturing the Christmas spirit.

Pirates Take Christmas runs at the Pirates Dinner Adventure through December 25. The address is 7600 Beach Boulebard in Buena Park 90620. For more information, call 866-439-2469 (toll-free) or visit: piratesdinneradventureca.com.

Steve Biodrowski, Administrator

A graduate of USC film school, Steve Biodrowski has worked as a film critic, journalist, and editor at Movieline, Premiere, Le Cinephage, The Dark Side., Cinefantastique magazine, Fandom.com, and Cinescape Online. He is currently Managing Editor of Cinefantastique Online and owner-operator of Hollywood Gothique.