Earlier this month we were invited to watch Against Captain’s Orders, a playful piece of theatre produced by Punchdrunk Enrichment. It’s one of the most fun and imaginative shows I’ve experienced with the babes to date — part family trail with a touch of Tintin, and an inkling of Indiana Jones!
Arriving slightly late, we quickly buckled into our life jackets and entered to join the audience sitting in dinghies, receiving instructions from guides named Glan (Lowri James) and Arthur (Michael Cusick).
We were with the ‘midshipmen’ as part of the crew of HMS Adventure, setting sail on a voyage of exploration through the National Maritime Museum’s history.
It was all rather scholarly at first, but after a security breach when four of the museum’s precious artefacts vanished, things got a lot more exciting.
Soon, we were wandering in and out of hidden doors, secret passages and back rooms, on a daring mission to recover the missing objects. Each room held wonders and surprises and we were in a race against time to avoid being caught out of bounds, or potentially sealed off entirely!
Against Captain’s Orders is a tribute to the spirit of the many, many adventurers whose stories make up the museum’s treasure trove. It’s filled with lighthearted banter, occasional shocks and even a small moment of heartbreak — but all’s well that ends well. The sets are put together with mind boggling detail, helping to create a truly immersive experience.
I loved that at one point, recognising he was the littlest and most worried of all the crew, one of the ushers gave Jed a paper torch to help light our way. Jed gripped that torch tightly, while whispering to me, ‘Will we get caught? Are we going to get locked up forever?’ I had to assure him we’d be fine, it was just a show — but part of me didn’t want to break the spell!
Ezra (age 9)
‘That wasn’t really a show, it was more of an adventure. We didn’t watch it, we did it! It’s exciting, sitting in boats, and I loved going behind the different areas in the museum. My best bits were all the running. I was sweating because of that show! I would not change anything about it.’
Jed (age 6)
‘My favourite part was the running. I was scared sometimes and I was running my fastest. I wasn’t worried for Arthur, I knew he was going to come back. I liked holding the torch because it was cool and I did a good job with it.’
Punchdrunk Enrichment presents Against Captain’s Orders: A Journey into the Uncharted for ages 6+, now playing at National Maritime Museum, Romney Rd, Greenwich SE10 9NF (Cutty Sark DLR/Greenwich rail). From 10am daily, £19.75 (until Aug 31, 2015)