Caribbean Pirates at the Polly Woodside

Caribbean Pirates at the Polly Woodside:  Arky Jet Elston; Felicity Keep; Casper Conrick; Lucy Gransbury; Josh Cameron and (front) Teodure Surcel. Photographer: David Johns

It’s a long time since I’ve been to children’s theatre and I’d forgotten how much fun it can be for both young an old.

Glenn Elston’s Caribbean Pirates at the Polly Woodside offers an hour of fun and games for all ages.

The young pirates are given ringside seats and constantly drawn into the action. They learn ‘pirate speak’, are taken on a treasure hunt, and are included in a mutiny carried out on the decks of the 1885 tall ship, Polly Woodside. Even the ‘old sea dogs’ join in the fun.

The performers are wonderful, each of them clearly entering totally into the spirit of the show, savouring every moment of word play, misunderstanding, treachery and clowning. There are rivalries a plenty, stolen treasure maps, sword fights and even some rousing pirate singalongs, as well as jokes for young and old. The audience is constantly drawn into the performance. The shyer ones may hold back initially but it’s not long before they are fully into it. I noticed a young boy playing his air guitar during one of the numbers.

Captain Cutthroat and Major Key
Captain Cutthroat and Major Key.  Photographer David Johns

Caribbean Pirates at the Polly Woodside is the most recent production from the Australian Shakespeare Company, the team that brings you Wind in the Willows every holiday season.They certainly know how to create enthralling outdoor theatre for children and adults alike.

Glenn Elston, Artistic Director of the Australian Shakespeare Company, has written a strong script with lots of great contemporary references seamlessly woven into the dialogue. He admitted to me that there were major challenges in mounting the performance given the restrictions imposed by the proximity of water and the historic value of the ship herself. He has succeeded admirably.

If you are looking for some great entertainment for yourself and the children then why not let the villainous Captain Cutthroat, Major Key, Empty Draw, Larry (who should be Sally), Scurvy Knave and the mysterious and magical Gypsy Pirate take you all on a theatrical adventure alongside the historic Polly Woodside. You are sure to have a rollicking good time.

Jan Chandler

Jan has been working freelance in the arts industry for some 15+ years in a variety of roles including: arts management; journalism (print, radio and online); publicity; and media relations. Passionate about the arts in all their variety, Jan has worked in film (production assistant; reviewer); dance (publicity; producer and presenter of 'Dance Dialogues - 3CR) and Board Member of Ausdance (Victoria)); performing arts (company manager, performer, reviewer, online editor). Jan had the honour of being the General Manager of Ilbijerri Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Theatre for some 18 months.

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