In my penultimate review of EdFringe shows, I’m looking at Captain Morgan 2: The Sea of Souls, by company Tap Tap Theatre.
Going in to it, my friends were worried that we hadn’t seen Captain Morgan 1. Fortunately for us, the show opens with a recap in the style of ‘Previously On’. You know that dramatic voiceover at the start of shows, which contains pertinent information about that episode, like you’ll see an event which was seemingly insignificant or character who hasn’t been in the show for like 2 seasons and suddenly they come back in this episode.
Except unlike those long, protracted ‘Previously On’s we normally get on TV, Captain Morgan keeps it short and sweet:
PREVIOUSLY ON CAPTAIN MORGAN
Captain Morgan: We have to find the Sands of Time.
Captain Morgan: We found the Sands of Time!
In this second installment, our brave Captain Morgan (Joe Newton) is enjoying the power that comes with possessing the Sands of Time, a power which allows him to traverse time itself. And of course he uses it for great things: beating someone at a game of cards. But he must also face the consequences of having stolen this powerful artifact, one of those being dreadful indeed: he has lost his ability to be mad at his crew…that and he lost his own soul. Aided by the ever loyal First Mate Hammond (Ed Richards), Captain Morgan attempts to reclaim his soul, while battling giants, mermaids and cowboys along the way!
With a cast of three and little to no props aside from a violin, they are somehow able to create a whole new world before your very eyes, one full of sound effects, special effects including a soul being ripped from its body, and 30-40 characters. Playing none of the characters himself is Dave Ridley, who provides a musical backdrop for the show. In addition to playing the melodies, Ridley’s trusty violin also provides sound effects including doors and the creakiest floor boards in the world!
Ben Behren’s script is sheer perfection: the ‘Previously On’ joke sets the tone for a fun filled, witty and irreverent hour. No line is wasted, and every single one gets a laugh! The pace at which the narrative jumps around through space and time itself is still easy to follow, thanks to clever lines and Richards and Newtons’ distinct characterisation of each character. From just one glance or smirk, we know exactly which character is on stage. In an impressive feat, Newton and Richards double up as the remaining 40 odd characters. Well, I guess double up isn’t the right word…more like fifteenth-up…or twentieth-up…?
In addition to playing the charismatic, fearsome Captain Morgan, Newton also makes memorable turns as an enthusiastic if bloodthirsty little girl and an evil if completely disinterested henchman, among many other cameos. Richards likewise plays other stand out characters aside from Hammond: a soul monster, slightly slow gunslinger, evil French guy, and love interest for Captain Morgan just to name a few. My favourite characters though have to be the double acts these two create: the Dragons’ Den would-be contestants who pitch their Captain Morgan merchandise are a highlight, particularly their Christmas role play; and who could forget their beautiful but fatal mermaids. ‘AaaaAAAAAH Just a little bit closerrrr’ still haunts my dreams or nightmares.
Verdict: a swashbuckling, musical adventure. Imaginative and immersive, it ticks all the boxes. Amazing script: YAR! Amazing music: YARRR! Incredible cast of 30, albeit with just two actors: YARRRR! A MUST SEE!
Captain Morgan 2: The Sea of Souls is playing on even days until August 30th at the Pleasance Dome. Captain Morgan 1: The Sands of Time is playing on odd days until August 31st at the same venue. To book tickets, visit the EdFringe website.