FRINGE REVIEW – Captain Flinn and the Pirate Dinosaurs


By S Mulvihill

Get your hook and eyepatch ready as adults and children alike will be delighted by this adaptation of the well loved characters from Giles Andreae and Russell Ayto’s award winning novels. Tapping into a fantastical child’s world of imagination and adventure we’re invited to join a pirate crew on an altogether too brief journey across the seven seas with Flinn, Pearl, and Tom.

Armed with high production values, impressive costumes and puppets, the four person cast tell a simple story of Flinn and his friends who meet Captain Stubble in an art cupboard and set out to help him recover his ship that has been stolen by Pirate Dinosaurs. Carefully constructed lighting helps take us from place to place, as the set transforms from bedroom to schoolroom to ship and back again. Dressing the stage with fabric for the sea, finding trapdoors and hatches to climb in and out of, this production makes the most of the space available. There are some clever props too – with a puffer fish made from a light shade and possibly the only charming seagulls in Edinburgh being particular highlights. But the real stars are the dinosaurs, interpreted by a combination of costume and puppetry and stylistically true to the book illustrations. A charismatic pterodactyl, a grizzly triceratops and a dozy diplodocus are battled with aplomb before the suspense filled entrance of Mr T, the tyrannosaur Pirate Captain (even the adults in the audience were slightly apprehensive and some little ones cowered). With some songs, both with live and pre-recorded backing, and excellent choreography in the fight scenes and musical numbers this show really has it all for the whole family.

It’s not often you can say this but the only complaint about this show was that there wasn’t enough of it; there could have been so much more. The running time is listed as an hour, but in actuality the show runs for around 45 minutes. Delightful props used only once, a cameo from a snow machine and a rope ladder that wasn’t climbed all felt like missed opportunities. The four actors could have been helped enormously by the addition of one or two more people to play the dinosaurs, thus allowing more dialogue and interaction for the characters. It was well devised and executed, with great characterisation, and a little bit extra would have made it something truly special.

What the kids say: Scary and funny. I liked being the crew

Underbelly, Bristo Square Until 26/08/13 (not 12th, 22nd) 11:00, 15:00

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