The Last Voyage of Sinbad the Sailor at the Tobacco Factory, Bristol

image by farrows creativeWHAT watery treats are in store for theatregoers in Bristol this Christmas – with The Little Mermaid and Antarctica at the Old Vic, and now Last Voyage of Sinbad the Sailor at the Tobacco Factory in Bedminster.

The venue has linked up with Travelling Light theatre to devise this wonderfully inventive retelling of some of the age-old stories of Sinbad the Sailor, a character who appears in various guises in countless myths from all around the world. He’s a sort of merchant who is shipwrecked and then saved, vows never to go to sea again, but somehow does … and the pattern repeats itself to infinity.

Not so at the Tobacco Factory, where his story finally comes to a happy conclusion in this terrific show, with its brilliant storytelling, catchy music provided by the on-stage band of Pete Judge and Alex Vann, adventure, puppetry, dance and romance.

Lucy Tuck, seen recently in Bristol in The Boy Who Cried Wolf in the open air in King Street in the summer, is Little Fish, intrepid captain of the Complicité (nice reference!). Her crew are devoted, but keen to get home to their families after a voyage looking for fish. She’s only happy on board the ship where she has always lived.

This is a boat with standards, and one of the rules is that you never, NEVER, throw anything you have caught back into the sea. So when the nets are like to break with the weight of a strange lumpy fish, Capt Fish wants to bring it in. It’s a man, and his name is Sinbad, and he warns the captain and crew that they must throw him back overboard if they are to escape his curse. But, of course, they don’t, and so begins the adventure, told through the stories the new crew member unfolds.

His first ship lands on a new island that turns out to be a massive sea creature, and he is shipwrecked and rescued by a beautiful girl in a hot air balloon. Next he meets a man eating monster, then he finds a ghastly little thing who climbs on his back and threatens to take over his being. Each time the balloonist comes into sight in the nick of time.

His next adventure promises happiness, but fate intervenes again.

Vic Llewellyn is the real unfortunate Sinbad, with Saikat Ahamed, Chris Bianchi and Zara Ramm taking turns in the role for the various stories, which take the audience to exotic places and introduce them to pretentious scientists, two-voiced monsters, beautiful queens and clumsy kings and much more.

There are performances at various day and evening times until 12th January and this is a show for all the family to enjoy, now from the newly-comfortable seats of the Tobacco Factory. GP-W

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