In this jolly kids Christmas musical by Scott DeTurk and James J. Mellon, a band of pirates raids the North Pole! Will they force Santa to walk the plank? Will they keelhaul Rudolph for playing reindeer games? Not to worry: Somali warlords with machine guns, these pirates aint. Rather, they are genial privateers of the arr and blistering barnacles! school. Swashbucklin pirate Captain Black-Eyed Johnny (charismatic Rob Arbogast, bearing an almost eerie resemblance to Patrick Swayze) and his mischievous pirate band arrive at the South Pole and steal all Santas presents, kidnapping Mrs. Claus (Bonnie MacBird) for good measure. Its up to an intrepid little girl (the role is multicast, Daisy Bishop on the night reviewed) to save the day. Mellon and DeTurks sweet, boisterous musical is charming, briskly executed fun, with an innocent yet good-humored sensibility thats perfect for the very young. Much of the show depends on the energy of the audience, which constantly interacts with the performers in the style of a British pantomime. The songs are energetic, and some, such as the crowd-pleasing sea shanty Sail On, have some strikingly sophisticated harmonies. The ensemble enacts the daffy material with absolute commitment, including hilariously mugging turns offered by the pirates in supporting roles. NoHo Arts Center, 11136 Magnolia Blvd., North Hollywood; Fri., 7:30 p.m.; Sat., 3 & 7:30 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; through December 28. (800) 988-4235. NoHo Arts Center Ensemble.
Fridays, 7:30 p.m.; Saturdays, 3 & 7:30 p.m.; Sundays, 3 p.m. Starts: Nov. 21. Continues through Dec. 28, 2008