Theatre Captain Crowsnest Ahoy! Teignmouth, Devon

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The Independent Culture
Four years ago, the Fitzcarraldo docked at Teignmouth and opened its floating theatre. Since then Lottery money has helped to refit the ship and to turn the outside all-weather venue into an up-to-date covered theatre, equipped with lights and a screen. The change has robbed the event of its rough-and-readiness, and the show of its improvised knockabout humour. The show for children, Captain Crowsnest Ahoy!, uses all the facilities in a wistful story about a boy who puts to sea to find his pirate hero and his dad who is missing in the deep. His mother pursues him in a bath with an outboard motor and they both end up inside a whale.

The story is carried by narrative by Paul Boyle (the boy) and Laura Richmond (his mum), and by slides and video, puppetry and shadowgraph. A feature is the rising of the hold trap door, to display craft at sea, and the carry through into the hold that represents the whale's inside. The show has the kind of fantasy element that children can take seriously, and the two principals work hard at maintaining the illusion. The visual element has some quirky humour, but the freshness and fun has gone in favour of whimsy. The young audience were intrigued enough to sit quietly, and climbing around the ship is an experience worth having under the belt.

n Ilfracombe, Devon to Sun, then touring (info: 0161-873 7350)

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