High Street Arts Center

45 High Street, Moorpark, CA

Currently Playing thru November 22, 2015

If you’re from a generation past, sometimes there’s nothing like a little fantasy trip back in time.

High Street Arts Center’s “The Lovely Boat” provides just such a cruise into the glorious-if-you-say-they-were 70’s, when disco was the drug of choice and “The Hustle” was enough to transform American nightclubs into a room of dancing zombies.

And that’s just the way the evil Mr. Bjorke wants it.

Bjorke and his sidekick Baboo (Terry Miles and Chris Carnicelli, doing their take on Roarke & Tattoo of ‘Fantasy Island’) have concocted a fiendish plot: once the Lovely Boat sets sail, they’ll slip everyone genetically modified pineapples, laced with a mind-altering drug that will make everyone their slaves.

But not everyone’s going to go down easy. Captain Stubbing (Scott Pond) and his purser CHiP (the nimble and quick-witted Christopher Mahr) will fight them with their smarts and, if need be, shuffleboard cues in a well-lit and acrobatic fight scene. Perhaps Brock Masters (local theatre veteran Dale Alpert) might take the evil duo down with Barty (Quinn Lasher), his otherwise silent partner. And if that doesn’t work there’s always mild-mannered cruise director Lonnie (Kim Iosue) to enter guns-a-blazing ala Scarlett Johanssen’s ‘Black Widow.’

Costumer Reign Lewis has done well to differentiate her characters with the bright colors and patterns of the era’s spirit. When June (Sandy Pratt) first appears onboard, her wardrobe is borrowed right out of Mrs. Roper’s ‘Three’s Company’ closet. And when disco queen Christy (Laura Norkin) slithers onstage, Lewis’s shining ensemble is both dazzling and accurate. The show is accompanied by the tireless and intricate keyboard work of Rick Pratt (also the show’s director and playwright), who has sewn together a soundtrack of the deepest 70’s anthems.

Veterans of Moorpark Melodrama productions will recognize the audience-interactive spirit they’ve come to expect. When the bad guys show up, they don’t mind at all when the audience boos and hisses. Likewise, audiences are encouraged to let out a good “hummina-hummina!” when their favorite character strides onstage. The Melodrama is still a style of entertainment not often seen and thoroughly enjoyable.

Before “The Lovely Boat” set sail, Pratt introduced the show by asking how many in the audience lived thru the 70’s. Hands shot up. Pratt then asked how many actually remember the 70’s; not as many hands. But do you really need to have lived thru the decade to appreciate a cruise on “The Lovely Boat?” If the young girls spontaneously doing the ‘YMCA’ dance in the aisles during intermission is any indication, the legacy of the era will sail on much longer than any of us ever expected.

The Lovely Boat

Thru November 22, 2015

High Street Arts Center

45 High Street, Moorpark, CA

Tickets: 805-529-8700 or online at:

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