Ladies and Gentlemen, once again, Mr. Glen Weldon …

A Most Notorious Woman
Woolly Mammoth Theatre’s Melton Rehearsal Hall

Remaining performance:
Saturday, July 28, 3 pm

They say: “Rebellion! Romance! Pirates! A Most Notorious Woman reveals the true story of Grace O’Malley, the 16th century Pirate Queen of Ireland. Her thirst for adventure led to the sea, and eventual battle against the encroaching forces of England. Ask yourself, “Where do you go when your world becomes too small?””

Glen’s take: The real thing. Rachel Manteuffel tells the story of Irish pirate Grace O’Malley while radiating intelligence, humor and flat-out charm like so much Strontium-90. If Strontium-90 had a sly smile and a flawless brogue. She switches from one character to another with startling ease and knows exactly what to do once she gets there — her bitchy Queen Elizabeth, for example, can speak encyclopedic volumes simply by clearing her throat.

Another thing about those transitions: There’s something ruthlessly efficient about each one of ’em that’s deeply satisfying. Viz: With a simple shrug of Manteuffel’s shoulders, her jacket slides down her arms to become the shackles she’ll wear in the following scene. Tiny, well-thought-out moments like that abound. Maggie Cronin’s script is smart, if a bit discursive, and it gives the audience credit for being smart too.

One performance left. Saturday afternoon at 3:00.

See it if: The phrase “biographical one-woman show” has become inextricably linked, in your mind, to the phrase “please God make it stop.”

Skip it if: You prefer pirates who sound like Keith Richard to those who sound like Sinead O’Connor.