Monday 18 September 2017

The Night Pirates

 We've recently been invited to review a range of children's performances at one of our local theatres - The Rose in Kingston. It's a lovely child-friendly theatre with a children's area, cafe and programme packed full of family performances. Founded by Sir Peter Hall, and modelled on the original Elizabethan Rose Theatre on London’s Bankside, Rose Theatre Kingston is the largest producing theatre in South West London.We feel very lucky to live so near.

Last weekend the girls and I headed over to see The Night Pirates, based on the children's picture book by Peter Harris and Deborah Allwright.

Surprisingly for a family of bookworms, this isn't a story we had encountered, but for a pair of little ladies living every day in their imaginations on board the Swallow, battling the Amazons for Wildcat Island, this was a perfect choice. Delightfully it was not only a jolly good piratey story, complete with an excellent message for little women and for the boys around them, but it was also a energetic and engaging musical adventure. The girls declared it a triumph. Still chatting about it two days later, three year old Culturetot and I wrote up her own review in her Today Book:

The girls were particularly pleased that Tom, the little boy hero of the piece, was invited to join a gang of little girl pirates on their adventure across the high seas. Delightfully inclusive, the crew didn't question his gender but only his sense of adventure and justice. Determined to set the world to rights, recapture stolen treasure from a rabble of silly grown-up pirates, and return it to Tom's home town, the crew set off to an island across the seas on a ship shaped like a house. Using energy and wits (of course) they save the day.

As Charlotte Cooper, a cast member and one of the little girl pirates herself noted in an interview, "The fact that it is noteworthy that these pirates are girls, proves we have a long way to go before gender equality is truly realised. I think it is superb that the pirates in this story are female. They are the sort of rolemodels I would have loved as a child- strong, fun, adventurous AND female! The significance should only be in that they are a reminder that gender should not be a barrier to anything." Absolutely.

Particularly satisfying was the encouragement at the end of the tale for the every child in the audience to become author and storyteller of their own adventures. The story never need end as we exit the theatre, or remain static while we close the book, but it can continue in our own imaginations. Each child was invited to write the sequel at home - where might Tom's next adventure with his new friends take him?

Touring Dates of The Night Pirates can be found here.

Family Show listings at the Rose in Kingston are here. We'll be covering more in the coming weeks.

For some inspiring reading for your little girl pirates (as well as the boys in the crew) see our post here on an essential library for mighty girls. And frankly there's also no better place to start than Arthur Ransome's classic Swallows and Amazons and its TV and Film adaptations.

Disclaimer: We are delighted to be local reviewers for the Rose Theatre, and do so in exchange for the chance to view the performances. All reviews and views are entirely our own. Performance photographs were provided by the Rose Theatre. Child's review was by Culturetot.
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