Captain Flinn and the Pirate Dinosaurs:
The Magic Cutlass
at the Spiegeltent, Leicester Square Gardens, London
‘the chance to see a walking, talking, singing T-Rex’
Based on the popular books by Giles Andreae and Russell Ayto, Les Petits Theatre Company take over the Spiegeltent every afternoon to bring this story to life, using energy, noise, colour, puppets and props.
Miss Pie is trying to do a school play, but the children are playing up a bit. After a few false starts, she storms off - leaving the cast (Flinn, Pearl and Tom) alone on stage. A quick nod to each other and they play it out ‘for real’. They are brave pirates on the sea - until one by one they are kidnapped by Mr T the T-Rex, the captain of the Pirate Dinosaurs. All because he wants The Magic Cutlass from the bottom of the sea. So, threatening to turn Pearl and Tom into sausages, he forces Flinn to dive down to the sea bed to retrieve it…
Strangely, it is quite a complex story for the eager audience. Billed for ages 3 and above, I do think it is better for 6 and above. The books may be for the youngest of children, but brought to life, the characters are brash and loud and the dinosaurs are full-on for a small child to take in. I would suggest smaller kids sit at the back … even though they are keen to see a dinosaur when they enter - but when Mr T is there, he is huge and scary!
The cast are amazingly energetic - and arrive with a real bang! Mark Middleton, Ellie Pawsey, Tom Myles and Stephan Boyce (with supportive crew) deserve a huge pat on the back.
Director Hal Chambers hurls the story at the audience, seldom giving us a chance to breathe. The songs are, sadly, forgettable and there is nothing for us to join in with. The production is ‘for’ the children, not ‘with’ them - so, somehow, it is lacking in charm. A great shame as, technically, the staging and design have brought the books to life in such an imaginative manner.
Towards the end of the 60-minutes show the toddlers were getting restless, but for action, sound, lights and the chance to see a walking, talking, singing T-Rex, this is a manic, energetic show that does not conform to traditional pantomime. It is a seasonal production that doesn’t even mention Christmas! Such a relief...
Photographer Gail Harland
Producer Les Petits Theatre Company
Adapted by Oliver Lansley
Director Hal Chambers
Composer Jack Graham Thomas
Puppet Design Max Humphries
Set Designer Zoe Squire
Running Time 60 mins
Performances until Sunday 5th January 2020 - at 3pm
Venue Spiegeltent, Christmas in Leicester Square, Leicester
Square Gardens, London WC2H 7NA
Tickets Available from Christmas in Leicester Square at Tel:
03333 444 167 or online at
- priced from £8
Twitter @PetitsTheatre, #FlinnCutlass, @LeicesterSqXmas
Facebook /LesPetitsTheatreCompany @LeicesterSqXmas
A free Captain Flinn Activity Pack can be downloaded from www.lespetitstheatre.com