Something is rotten in the state of Russia. The Tsar is a puppet-king swayed by corrupt officials who fear the day when the shrewd princess will ascend the throne. As a result, they convince him to marry his daughter off to the first man who can bring him a flying ship.
The Flying Ship is an upbeat and compelling show from beginning to end.
Enter Peter, a kind but poor woodcutter who lays hands on a flying ship after he gives a loaf of bread to a magic man disguised as a beggar. As he flies to the royal palace, he is joined by an eclectic band of travel companions: Sprout, who can grow new hands; Hurricane, who bellows hot air; the runaway princess who keeps her identity a secret.
Popinjay Productions’ adaptation of the Russian folk tale The Fool of the World and the Flying Ship gives off the charm of an old fairy tale. But it has also been written with a more knowing audience in mind. Jibes are made at politicians, and Josh Freeborn’s script is hilariously self-aware, poking fun at the genre and never taking itself too seriously. This double-register means that both children and adults are likely to find the show entertaining.
The show boasts a strong and hugely likeable cast. James Goldsworthy’s appearance as the affable Tsar elicits plenty of laughs from the audience, as do Peter’s idiotic brothers. There is obvious chemistry between the actors, and a virtue to the simplicity of the set and sound-effects, which are effective yet unobtrusive.
The Flying Ship is an upbeat and compelling show from beginning to end. The acting could be more polished in some parts, but these rough edges only result in a sense of pleasing quaintness well-befitting the fairy-tale genre. For anyone looking for an hour of lighthearted entertainment, this is not to be missed.