L.S.Media Rating: ****

Cast: Chloe Dechery, Lucinka Eisler and Simone Kenyon.

Faces of older women are projected onto screens as the audience take their places in Unity Theatre. Three highly energetic women burst onto stage with youthful playfulness, appearing to be warming up for the night’s performance. They instantly demand audience participation, with a simple breathing exercise to prepare them to set sail on a quest to find their inner pirate…

Storming into the audience, they ask various members to unleash hearty pirate ‘ha harrr’, instilling a sense of empowerment that grows as the night progresses. The Pirate Project presents three modern women, who re-enact the little known stories of three legendary female pirates, who broke the mould and conquered the high seas, despite operating in a male dominated society. Through embodying these role models, they hope to discover something about the female identity in the 21st century, a subtle exploration of the feminist movement.

Indecisive Lucinka searches for her true identity, by taking on the role of Mary Read, who comes with her own box of moustaches as she tries to conceal her female identity to her fellow pirates. Chloe reveals her desire to be self-sufficient and no longer crave feedback. Her domineering presence shows that she is an incredibly strong woman who loves to call the shots; fittingly, she becomes Chinese pirate Ching Shih, who commanded 70,000 men as she terrorised the eastern seas. Finally, searching for the empowering rebellious streak that she had when she was a teenager, Simone becomes Anne Bonny, who revolted against her comfortable upbringing for a life of piracy.

The trio support each other through their stories, switching seamlessly between their true and pirate selves. Including heated sword-fights, enacting dramatic storms and shadow puppetry, the audience chuckled along as the charming personalities of these animated actresses shone through. The stories entwine as the journey continues, pausing every so often with projections of women full of wisdom talking about their life experiences, demonstrating the inner pirate is universal

The various layers of The Pirate Project allows audiences each to relate to it differently, as it explores female ambition and confidence. An incredibly lively performance combined with the honesty of these talented ladies made every audience member, male or female, very much a part of this sisterhood, following these incredibly compelling stories.

Picture from The Unity Theatre.