The Pirate Cruncher comes to Worthing

The Pirate Cruncher
The Pirate Cruncher

It’s a brilliant book”, says director Joel Scott. “It’s completely bonkers!”

The book is The Pirate Cruncher by Jonny Duddle, winner of the Waterstone’s Children’s Book Prize, and it tours to Worthing this September as a stage show, promising to delight audiences with a swashbuckling tale of greed and ingenuity.

It plays the Connaught Theatre, with performances on Saturday, September 21 at 2.30pm and Sunday, September 22 at 11am and 2.30pm.

Overlooking the harbour lies the Thirsty Parrot tavern, run single-handed by plucky and clever seven-year-old Emily, child inventor extraordinaire. When her tavern is raided by Captain Purplebeard and his dastardly cut-throat crew, Emily determines to take revenge by sending the pirates on a wild goose chase for treasure.

Little do they suspect that their ridiculous quest will lead them straight into the tentacles of the terrifying Pirate Cruncher, a monster who likes nothing better than to devour pirates for lunch…

Director Joel is promising a rollicking adventure, told through thrilling action, daft nonsense, stirring shanties and the weirdest of mechanical contraptions.

“Exciting, hilarious and comically gruesome, this tale of pirates, monsters and the ingenuity of one small girl is family theatre at its finest and silliest, a treat for children and adults alike.”

And it’s most definitely not the kind of theatre where the audience simply sits there respectfully in the darkness.

The show comes from Goat and Monkey theatre company: “We have been going since 2004. We have done huge shows and we have done little intimate shows, but this is only our second-ever touring family show. We do a mix of things. We do whatever tickles our interest.

“We used to do immersive theatre.

“That was our big thing, but now everyone is doing it. I would say that we do epic theatre, and epic theatre applies to The Pirate Cruncher.”

There is a big sea battle, and the audience is definitely expected to join in.

They will be invited to throw foam cannon balls at the cast… but beware, as Joel says: “The actors will definitely throw them back.”

There is another scene where a pirate falls out of favour with Captain Purplebeard and is told to walk the plank… and get eaten by the sharks.

The trouble is that there aren’t any sharks… which is why a child will be plucked out of the audience, given a shark’s fin to wear and told to whack the poor pirate on the bottom.

If the child manages it, the prize will be Haribo.

“And we get the audience to dress up.

“We are going to supply some clothes at some point in the play and the audience will find out why, but really it would be good if families came along dressed as pirates. It’s all great fun!

“There is a moment where we have a flashback scene. We see the root of Captain Purplebeard’s tyranny, and it turns out that it was at school.”

Which means that director Joel is going to need some children. No surprises for guessing where he is going to find them…

Music and songs are by Jon Boden, winner of 11 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards, more than any other musician.

Tickets on 01903 206206 and online at

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