OFFICIAL NOMINATION: "Most Entertaining"
-Dublin Fringe Festival, 2005

WINNER: "Best Multimedia Experience"
-Hoontown Puppet Festival, Bangkok, 2005

WINNER: "Best Music Video: CLEANING UP CONEY ISLAND"
-Coney Island Film Festival, 2007

 

"When Pirates of the Caribbean was just a ride nobody wanted to go on at Disney World, Jollyship the Whiz-Bang was cranking out funny "pyrate puppet rock operas," with all the olde tyme speech patterns that knotty genre tag implies. The group's first song, "Pyrate Love," covered the swashbuckling traditions of rape and murder, and the eight member collective - made up of musicians, singers, puppeteers, and a few Bindlestiff Family Cirkus veterans - has since waded deeper into the pirate infested waters with an album called Songs to Drown By. Here, Jollyship takes its winding storylines, bizarre seafaring characters, and well-crafted puppets to Spiegeltent, the temporary vaudevillian venue at South Street Seaport."

-The Onion AV Club, August, 2006

DEPRAVED NEW WORLD: Jollyship the Whiz-Bang

. . .Whiz-Bang makes a solid case that artistic innovation and grandiosity need not be confounded with tastefulness. Low budget showmanship, improvised dialogue and a predilection for ribaldry imbues the episodes with a spirit of joyful anarchy. While critical to the show’s audience appeal, this illusion of spontaneity often conceals the meticulous degree of precision and labor harnessed to synthesize its many components . . .

-Brooklyn Rail (July/August 2005)

 

for "Songs to Drown By" (album)

After having to listen to hundreds of boring hipster rock band clones, a little novelty music is pretty refreshing. This is a "musical pirate puppet sea saga." I suppose the live show is where it's at, what with the puppets and pirate ship stage set and all, but these songs aren't half bad either. Reminds me of Bobby Conn with a nautical theme. I like "Kill it if it Don't Got Feet" and "Pyrate Love." Fans of kooky stuff like Flossie & the Unicorns or Dame Darcy will dig this.

-VICE (Music Issue, April 2005)

 

for SLEEPLESS FISHES (running 12/05/03 - 8/13/04)

When my friend Steve called me up and insisted I go down to the Bowery Poetry Club and see Jollyship the Whiz-Bang, a crazy "electro-rock puppet show," I could only think "Holy shit! How can two of the best pleasures of the modern world be combined into one?" . . . Aquatic ballyhoo plus electric accordion plus guitar solos equal a guaranteed good time. When you break it down, the whole 90 minute affair is like being inside the animated Yellow Submarine: there's quite a few hot tunes, a cast of notably zany characters and the big swirls of giddy psychedelia. Okay, so the Beatles never fucked with any puppets, but when the alternative to this lysergic rock fest is standing at some bar with your arms crossed trying to chat up some hoity-toity stranger, you gotta dive in.

-The Fader #27 (Jan/Feb 2005)

"Life on the high seas has never been easy. Storms create stomach-churning swells. Being confined to a ship can make sane souls go positively loopy. And dangers constantly lurk in the deep. Of course, your woes are just beginning if you've been captured by pirates. . . It's a hilarious dilemma that's explored by the multimedia rockers of Jollyship the Whiz-Bang, which performed Episode 5 of its ongoing pirate/puppet rock opera Tuesday evening at Someday Lounge as part of the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art's Time-Based Art Festival. . . Much of what makes Jollyship infectious comes from Nick Jones, the group's lead singer, voice of many of the characters, and one of the three puppeteers. He's got a captivating stage presence when he's banging out a rocking number, then he slips into various puppet guises with subtlety and great humor. He's aided by a rollicking backup band that can move from sea shanties to punked-out riffs faster than you can slit a scurvy dog's throat."

-The Oregonian (Sept. 2006)

 

"A clever musical number here, some death by scoundrel there, some nasty adult humor dressed in children's clothing throughout. All in all, a fun time. The Jollyship crew succeeds in creating a spontaneous, slapped together, anything can happen aesthetic. Yet, I imagine the show is pieced together scrupulously. . . Going into the show, I wondered how (if at all) Jollyship would breath life into the tired pirate nonsense that has been so thoroughly played out. It seems everyone I know has come and gone through a pirate fascination phase. I can't count the number of pirate parties I've been to in the last few years. . . .I think the fact that they didn't take the piracy angle too seriously was a saving grace. The ship and casual references to raping and pillaging provided a context, but the story was so absurd it could have worked with any premise."

-PICA TBA Festival Blog (Sept, 2006)

 

"The show is so inventive and such a good time; it is the epitome of what good off-the-wall New York theater ought to be."

-In-nyc.com

Avast, it's the JOLLYSHIP! Pirate puppets will be pillaging . . . .

-The Nation (Bangkok, December 29, 2005)

"We never understood the appeal of The Rocky Horror Picture Show or Hedwig and the Angry Inch, but many of you apparently enjoy them. Nick Jones has created a twisted musical that we can all enjoy. Jones, the quirkiest sex symbol around, keeps updating his Jollyship the Whiz-Bang adventures of pirate puppets and filthy sea shanties. Cheer on the sweet cabin boy, Tom, as he challenges the traditions of ocean crime and sodomy, and hope for a happy ending that may never arrive. Sit up front if you can."

-NY Press

"The creators of Jollyship the Whiz-Bang elevate what could have been a simple gimmick into the realm of serious series entertainment."

-ELJ All Arts Annex

"Awesome. . . utterly ridiculous. . . the performers are obviously having fun with their semi-improvised dialogue, and it’s infectious. Call it the theater of low expectations – everything is so lo-tech here that a simple action like a puppet kicking his feet when he swims can elicit applause, and an ambitious act like sending a puppet over the audience on a wire seems like a more impressive piece of stagecraft than a chandelier collapsing on a Broadway stage. And it helps that the songs fucking RAWK!. . . it's theater that makes you feel good. It has the feeling of “Hey let’s put on a show” – except that the performances are actually really tight - you don’t get that level of songs and elaborate sets without some hard work."

-Culturebot

 

"Loud, low budget, raggedy, and with a few beers in you, pretty freaking funny."

-Time Out NY

 

for OTHER SHOWS, tours, one-offs, and residencies. . .

"For Christian Trosclair, the pirate scene isn't about entertainment, fashion, art or history.
"It's about being ridiculous and absurd," said Trosclair, 32, standing in line in pirate gear before a recent "Jollyship the Whiz-Bang" performance in New York. Brooklyn-based "Whiz-Bang" is part puppet act, part rock band. The seven-member group started doing pirate stuff in front of a dozen or so people a few years ago and are now selling out 200-seat venues. . . ."Pirates have always been cool," said Raja Azar, 26, the shaggy haired key board player and co-founder. "You can project more with pirates, more so than with robots or ninjas," he said, wearing a striped tank top, black studded pants and boots with bare feet as he stood aboard a boat before the gig."

-REUTERS, India, August 21, 2006

 

"The final fling of the evening was given over to a gang (perhaps I should say 'horde', as there were about a million of them) called Jollyship the Whiz-Bang. With a name like that, you'd probably guess that here you have a band that could comfortably be described as 'eccentric'. For sheer entertainment and a certain youthful zest and diablerie though, they were hard to fault. Besides, I can't but feel an affinity for a band whose members all look like they regularly got the shit kicked out of them in school."

-Somebody's Blog, after a show in Limerick ("Stab City"), Ireland

"Dirty dirty dirty, scurvy scurvy scurvy . . . Give me some of that PIRATE LOVE!"

-Nonsense NYC

"Shows that really kick ass. . . grab your eye patch and staple a stuffed parrot to your shoulder."

-NY Press

"Creepy, but funny."

-Carter, Sonna's K-1 Class

 

Review of "The Colonists," a new show (non pirate related) created by Jollyship the Whiz-Bang for Hoontown puppet festival in Bangkok

"The show itself was a singular mixture of hi-tech and low: in one scene, the Queen Bee (manipulated by a puppeteer in jumpsuit) carefully fertilizes a honeycomb, and each cell lights up one by one as she graces it with her larvae. A few feet away, puppeteers wiggle cardboard honeycomb and jump in place to the music. The story moved forward at a rare, dreamlike pace amidst crowded, century-old homes and residents hawking spicy papaya salad and sticky rice.

-"Bangkok's Puppet Town," Dragonfire

 

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