CAPTAIN FLINN AND THE PIRATE DINOSAURS – Greenwich Theatre, London.
I was excited to see this production, as it is presented by Les Petits who are a new children’s company developed from world renowned company Les Enfants Terribles. Adapted from the book by Giles Andreae and Russell Ayto, Captain Flinn and the Pirate Dinosaurs is fun for all and has both children and adults laughing and participating throughout.
There are some brilliant theatrical moments – my favourite being when a flock of seagulls swoop around the stage and out into the audience, which produced suitable oohs and ahhs from the whole audience. The ensemble of four, James Kenningale, Catriona MacKenzie, Daniel King and Will Seaward work well together, conjuring the fantastical scenes with high energy and enthusiastic performances – their smiles are literally ear to ear.
Puppetry features a lot during the show, particularly during the Pirate Dinosaurs scene, which the actors manage well as they alternate playing their ‘child’ and ‘dinosaur’ character, whilst conveying newfound relationships between these opponents in the battle to recapture the Acorn Pirate Ship for Captain Stubble. There is significant multi-rolling, especially by Seaward, who managed to portray each character with clear idiosyncrasies to allow for easy differentiation. The set is fun especially where pieces are unfolded to reveal other settings, such as the pirate ship or Flinn’s bedroom, and the show starts in an intriguing way with Flinn drawing in his bedroom, surrounded by the other three cast members as items in his room, including a clock, a lamp and a toy car. They keep the audience’s interest piqued as they get to their seats by trying to sneak up on Flinn, honking the car horn and waving at the audience. Once everyone is seated, they burst straight into song and we are launched into a frenetic scramble to get to school, and their teacher Miss Pie, on time…
There are too many black outs, long set changes and moments of an empty stage to completely enjoy this show, as all of the above means the energy regularly dips and thus the cast has to work harder to bring it up again each time – nevertheless, it is a fun show and the young audience loved it. It has a suitably silly adventurous plot that is entertaining and full of songs, puppets and audience participation that really does make you want to join in.
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By Emily Jones