After huge success a couple of years ago, Captain Flinn and the Pirate Dinosaurs are back, this time with the tale of The Magic Cutlass, heading to Worthing’s Connaught Theatre on March 18.
The play is based on the award-winning book by Giles Andreae – and as show director Hal Chambers says, it’s the ideal combination – just perfect for young imaginations.
“The idea is that it was inspired by his child who said ‘Daddy, I want you to write me a book about my two favourite things, pirates and dinosaurs.’ And when you think about it, it is brilliant marketing. It would be impossible to find a child who didn’t like one or the other!
“It’s about a young boy called Flinn, and he is putting on a play at school with his friends, a play about pirate dinosaurs, and it is all cheap props. They are going to be performing it for their parents, but when they are rehearsing, they are abducted by real pirate dinosaurs.”
For the show, the company are making puppets and masks to achieve the effects, the four pirate dinosaurs, a pterodactyl, a diplodocus, a triceratops and a stegosaurus, plus their leader Captain T-Rex.
“The captain comes on and he is evil and sings a lot of silly songs. But Flinn and his friends are in a lot of trouble. They have got to find a magic cutlass or they will be made mincemeat of and made to walk the plank. It is basically a madcap caper story.
“With the work that this company does and the work that I do, I like to think that it is something that goes beyond entertainment.
“This show is about these children that don’t get on very well at the start but learn that they are better off when they learn to work together.
“They realise that if they are going to get out of this mess then they have got to do team work and play fair. But there is also a lot of lovely music, and it is basically a farce – a lot of good fun.
“It is a bit of an escape from real life. It is quite a famous book and I have seen lots of audiences in the past dress up as pirates or dinosaurs or both.
“ It is a very raucous show with a huge amount of energy. It is a very high-octane thing. There are four actors that play the children and play the pirate dinosaurs as well, but it is one of those shows where you feel it is more like a cast of 20 you are watching there is so much happening.
“There is also a lot of fun music that is quite punky and rocky. Some of it is pure punk rock.
“It is not just nice pretty pink and fluffy tunes. It has got a bit of edge, and I think that is why the children enjoy it. It is not patronising at all.
“We think of children as tiny giants. They are working out the world around them and they have got the most powerful imagination.
“They live fantasy for a living.
“It is like they are already in this world of craziness and imagination. It is so psychedelic and mad that it matches them. It is like it says ‘I know your imagination is mad. Come on board with this one!’
“We don’t patronise. We don’t make it sweet. It has got that edge.
“The actors are not trying to be children. They are trying to find their inner child. It is not all ‘Hello children, welcome to the show.’ It is very real and raw.
“My theory is that children can smell it a mile off when you are not being real with them. You have got to keep it real.”
Tickets for Captain Flinn and the Pirate Dinosaurs are available from the Worthing Theatres box office on worthingtheatres.co.uk.