Are you brave enough, clever enough, and good enough at fighting to be a pirate? Then this could be the swashbuckling adventure for you. This is a sweet, funny children's show, based around the story of an everyday hero known only as Little Man, with plenty of audience participation and lots of laughs.
As you enter the theatre, the cast encourage you to join in with 'scrubbing the decks', 'climbing the rigging' and then looking through the telescope. Children are asked to spot the props: a cutlass, a ship's wheel and the like, which are all required before we can sail away. Soon, however, it becomes apparent that this is simply Little Man's dream; sadly for him he works in the big city, typing a 40,000-page report for his demanding boss Mr Grumbles. But when Little Man's daydreaming gets him fired, it's time to go on a real-life adventure... with a ship, a treasure map, and of course his mum.
The actors all have a great rapport with the children, and the rhythm of the piece is very well suited for about 3 to 10 year olds. There are word puzzles to solve, opportunities to make animal noises, and greatly enjoyable cannonball fights which help to keep everyone engaged. There are raucous laughs and plenty of fun, but the cast still keep on track to tell this lovely story.
The sparse scenery is very cleverly used - although sometimes props can be hard to see. This is especially true of the pirate hat in the dream sequence, which is black against the black backdrop. On the other hand, using the backs of keyboards for skyscrapers was ingenious, and I loved the grumpy Mr Grumbles' head (made from a paper lantern).
While adults will empathise with Little Man, and find plenty to enjoy in this delightful story, it is definitely a children's show - and it serves that audience very well. There is plenty of interactivity, interest and action, a great deal of laughter and a happy ending. Certainly the best use of a 40,000-page report I've ever seen.