Pirates and Mermaids

Poor Boy Theatre’s latest offering, Pirates and Mermaids, is everything one hopes to find at the Fringe. The small audience is ushered up through the Scottish Storytelling Centre into a corridor and, in one breath, our usher switches into her character: an excitable New York tour guide. She shows us a video of the city that she’s made, on her iPad. We are told to leave our phones on so that we can join in with the show. From this point, we’re aware that this is going to be something special, something a little different.

Cameron’s story of love across different continents is compelling, and Reynolds’ performance is warm and without fault, but it’s the way the production is drawn together that makes Pirates and Mermaids memorable.

We’re led into a waiting room for the City Hall, where we meet Cameron (Jeremiah Reynolds). Having already been encouraged to bond as an audience by the tour guide outside, we now sit in the waiting room, where the main body of the show takes place. At the City Hall, where New Yorkers go to register births, deaths and marriages, Cameron tells us about his move to New York – and the girlfriend, Eilidh, that he left behind in Scotland. Pirates and Mermaids is their story.

Pirates and Mermaids is just as much an experience as it is a tale of love, loss and technology. Reynolds uses some recognisable techniques from your average one-man show – creating other characters instantly through a change in accent and posture, for example – but director Sandy Thomson is one step ahead in her other innovative twists on the traditional monologue. 

We’re invited to have a look through Cameron’s iPhone Camera Roll, at pictures of his girlfriend, his parents, his grandparents. He asks if anyone wants to share their own photos – one brave woman talks about her guinea pig as we pass around her Blackberry. Later, he plays us voicemails from his phone; he encourages us to write a postcard to someone we miss; he guesses what we want to be when we grow up.

Cameron’s story of love across different continents is compelling, and Reynolds’ performance is warm and without fault, but it’s the way the production is drawn together that makes Pirates and Mermaids memorable. It’s moving, but gives you plenty of room to think – unmissable. 

Reviews by Caitlin Hobbs

Paradise in The Vault

The Cupboard

★★★★★
theSpace @ Surgeons Hall

#Realiti

★★
Scottish Storytelling Centre

Pirates and Mermaids

★★★★★
SpaceTriplex

Boys

★★★★
theSpace @ Jury's Inn

One Above

★★★
Spotlites

Cracked Tiles

★★★★★

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Performances

Location

The Blurb

Poorboy’s award nominated show Pirates and Mermaids is an international story told on a very human scale. Cameron is in NYC. Eilidh lives in Scotland. The technology in their pockets keeps them constantly in touch, but you can't hold someone in your arms over Skype, and a text doesn't show you someone's smile. An uplifting and surprising show about true love, family advice, favourite sweets and what whisky can do to you. ‘Must see’ (Stage). Best Solo Performer nominee, Stage Awards 2013. **** (ThreeWeeks). **** (BroadwayBaby.com). **** (SGFringe.com).

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