The Great Piratical Rumbustification

Court One, Christchurch

27/09/2010 - 09/10/2010

Production Details


Margaret Mahy’s beloved kid’s story, THE GREAT PIRATICAL RUMBUSTIFICATION, comes alive these school holidays at The Court Theatre. 

Popular New Zealand playwright Carl Nixon has adapted this beloved children’s tale, in which young Oliver Terrapin discovers his new babysitters aren’t quite what his parents had imagined. Tom Trevella, Claire Dougan, Daniel Pengelly and Eddy Dever portray Mahy’s crew of crazy characters, from Orpheus Clinker to Terrible Crabmeat, the “oldest and deafest of all the pirates”. Elsie Edgerton-Till directs this production. 

Venue: Court One, The Court Theatre
Dates:  Monday 27 September – Saturday 9 October
Performances: Mon-Fri 11am & 1pm, Saturday 11am only (no shows Sundays)
Tickets: All tickets $8.
Bookings: The Court Theatre Box Office, 963 0870 or online at 

Claire Dougan
Tom Trevella
Daniel Pengelly
Eddy Dever

Set Design and Construction: Richard van den Berg
Lighting Design: Brendan Albrey
Sound Design: Hamish Oliver Costume
Design: Annie Graham
Props: Helen Beswick
Stage Manager: Tim Bain
Operator: Rebecca Ising

The thrills and magic of live performance

Review by Kerri Fitzgerald 28th Sep 2010

There is jolly good fun afoot at the Court these school holidays as Margaret Mahy’s appealing story is brought to life on stage (adapted by Carl Nixon) and neatly directed by newcomer Elsie Edgerton-Till. “A nice ‘arghhhh’ certainly makes a man feel alive” and there were many ‘arghhs’ elicited from both adults and youngsters in this excuse for a rollicking pirate party. 

A good pirate never dies and for young children, that a nutty pirate should be in charge as a baby sitter is intoxicatingly interesting. Elsie Edgerton –Till has laudably found the delicate balance to keep children from preschoolers to juniors beautifully engaged and attentive.

There are plenty of robust physical characters that, using a blend of classic comedic techniques, blunder along in this endearing story. Of course there is the required audience participation and yes there are the predictable calls for help: “Where is he? Oh you mean … over here?” which solicit the appropriate answers from the young viewers but to watch their responses warms the heart; plenty of clasped hands, hoots of laughter and a constant low murmur of giggles.

Although there is a lengthy introduction the pace livens up quickly as the actors take on multiple roles to propel the story forward. The adept physicality of Claire Dugan is particularly notable as she interchanges roles with obvious relish and control. Her turbo boosted wheelchair and the accompanying rap puts a smile on the adults as well!

Daniel Pengelly plays the overburdened and harassed father to the hilt and there are enough references to the weighty mortgage to find favour with adults viewers as well. Newcomer, and the Court intern, Eddy Dever strives to endear himself to the kiddies with his boyish pranks. 

A series of cardboard boxes are transformed into a pirate ship and there is a lovely moment of theatrical tension as beach ball cannons are set loose into the audience who return fire as soon as! A pirate party is a must for every youngster and for those who are young at heart. This show is a classic piece of theatre to introduce little ones to the thrills and magic of live performance.
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