Word on the street at the Edinburgh Fringe was that ‘Flinn and the Pirate Dinosaurs’ was not one to miss – so with a dinosaur loving, general weaponry fan, (newly turned) four year-old in tow – we arrived at the Pleasance with high expectations.

Adapted from Giles Andreae and Russell Ayto’s book of the same title, the show begins with Flinn and his friends Pearl and Tom, staging a play under the guidance of their teacher Mrs Pie. Initially, I wondered the plot seemed a little thin as the ‘kids’ performance was rather lacklustre and whilst Mrs Pie was admittedly hilarious, I was rather concerned things would drag.

I needn’t have worried as soon Flinn found himself catapulted into a real life pirate adventure – complete with pirate dinosaurs. Although there were only four cast members, they managed to switch between roles seamlessly with the benefit of really impressive costumes and puppets.

The puppetry was a real highlight for me and I had to marvel at the construction of the dinosaurs. This certainly wasn’t a low-tech production and clearly benefited from the seamlessness of it’s transitions. The stage crew and cast worked together brilliantly to wind up to really fast paced production.

As the story continued, the children quickly found themselves in the clutches of the (slightly scared) Pirate T-Rex who is threatening to turn them all into sausages if they don’t find the Magic Cutlass. As Flinn dove down into the ocean the use of shadow puppetry was particularly clever and helped to ask some of the stage transitions too.

The story bounced between pantomime-esque sword fighting, jokes that flew over the heads of the children, and a lot of catchy musical numbers. There was little time to sit back as the kids were kept on the edge of their seats wondering if Flinn could possibly succeed in the face of the fearsome T-Rex.

I would add that this show wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea – a couple of younger children were taken out by their parents as the T-Rex came to the stage. Even Katie (aged 6) hid for a second – although Thomas (aged 4) exclaimed it was ‘utterly awesome!’ It struck me that aside from being a very large character, the volume was quite high and the use of lighting dramatic. On balance, I think a little fear in stories can be a good thing but I think that the advisory for 3+ is a good one.

It’s 4*’s from Katie and Thomas.

P.S. We were gifted press tickets in order to provide this review but all thoughts and opinion are entirely our own. You can buy tickets here.

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