“The pirate is a lady!”. My 4 year old girl lit up when she saw the art for The Funatorium: Captain Hook’s Pirate Party in the Sydney Opera House’s season brochure. And so it was that this show became a necessary component of the multi-pass that we bought her, as part of her Christmas present.
A cabaret style performance for children, directed by Mike Finch from Circus Oz,The Funatorium certainly lived up to its name.
The fun takes place on Captain Hook’s pirate ship, a thrust stage boat that extends out into the audience. Before the show begins, cast members engage the audience, and in fact, it was the pre-show moment when tattooed “Bloody Nora” pointed her sword in our direction, that the Mini Artsplorer remembered more than anything, later.
Captain Hook, indeed a woman, and a delightfully saucy and fearsome pirate, at that, serves as the master of ceremonies, presiding over a band of pirates and characters inspired by Peter Pan. The plot may be a little thin, but that’s hardly the point of this voyage. Over the course of an hour, the salty sea-men and sea-ladies show off an array of circus style acts, including balancing tricks, juggling, and aerial performances. We were gasping out loud at Bloody Nora’s German wheel gymnastics, holding our breath for the parrot/pirate balancing on ever more precariously stacked chairs, and cheering along with a juggling Lost Boy. There is also plenty of songs (Captain Hook, it turns out, is quite the songstress!), a lot of jokes, plus one really raucous moment where the entire audience gets to be in on the act.
In true cabaret form, there is a hint of the alternative – a good dose of camp, hints of androgyny, and a few off-color jokes that made this grown up laugh, and went straight over my kid’s head. It’s all meant to feel just a little bit dangerous and naughty. They are pirates, after all!
I’m not actually sure if my kid or I was more entertained by this pirate party. I’d recommend it for any age kid, about 4+. It doesn’t get much more fun than this Funatorium.
This review is independent and self-funded.
The Funatorium: Captain Hook’s Pirate Party runs through Saturday, 27 January.
Tickets are $39+
Relaxed performance Saturday 20 January at 11a.m.