‘Bathtub Pirates’ at The Puppet Co. by Julia L. Exline

This summer, The Puppet Co. plays host to guest artists Grey Seal Puppets, who present their own Bathtub Pirates, a show about bubbly playtime! This original and relatable story, created by Drew Allison and Donald Devet, has won one of the highest honors in puppetry, the UNIMA Citation for Excellence.

Drew Allison and the Grey Seal Puppets in 'Bathtub Pirates.' Photo courtesy of The Puppet Co.
Drew Allison and the Grey Seal Puppets in ‘Bathtub Pirates.’ Photo courtesy of The Puppet Co.

Solo performer Drew Allison enters the stage dressed as a plumber, before ducking behind a striped shower curtain, above which sits a miniature bathtub. Using a series of rod puppets (which were cleverly hooked onto his plumber’s tool belt) Allison tells a story about an imaginative child who pretends that his bathtub has turned into a pirate ship, singing “Yo Ho Ho, a Pirate’s Life for Me!” However, what happens when it isn’t pretend anymore? The notorious Captain Blackbeard and his crew have commandeered the boy’s bathtub, anchoring it down with a soap-on-a-rope and setting the child to laborious pirate chores. Can the boy persuade the pirate crew (the ever-proper Mr. Tweezers, easily distracted Loofah, and silly, lovable Scuttlebutt) to team up against Blackbeard and take back the tub? 

There are many fun moments in this production, and one of my favorites is when the boy is ordered to go fishing for Blackbeard’s dinner and catches a “toothbrush shark.” After finally having enough, and with some wise advice from the plumber, the kid challenges Blackbeard to a duel…with plungers.The premise behind this puppetry act is a great one—what kid doesn’t love bathtime play? The rod puppets themselves are fairly simplistic—a far cry from the beautifully detailed marionettes that usually grace The Puppet Co.’s stages—but the audience did not seem to mind or miss them. Allison uses a nice range of voices and accents for his characters, as well as fun effects like whistles and kazoos. The children enjoyed it, shrieking with glee whenever soap bubbles floated up out of the bathtub. I’m sure this show inspired many creative bathtimes that evening!

Treat your child to a viewing of Bathtub Pirates — and see where the inspiration takes them! What will your bathtub turn into tonight?

Running Time: 45 minutes, without an intermission.


Bathtub Pirates plays through June 30, 2013 at The Puppet Co. in Glen Echo Park – 7300 MacArthur Boulevard, in Glen Echo, MD. For tickets, call (301) 634-5380, or purchase them online.


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