If the title of this swashbuckling circus show has you groaning at its shamelessness, get used to it: there are more pirate puns ahead, me hearties. You'll be a wreck by the end of it.
Melbourne-based circus troupe Head First Acrobats' debut show for kids is fronted by new recruits Fabian Galouye, Ronan Jenkinson and Sam Letch in Beauty, the smaller of Circus Hub's big-tops. They're haplessly chaotic pirates in search of treasure on the ocean waves, battling their own stupidity while dodging ghosts and sharks.
Everything moves at a brisk, fun pace, as the trio of performers ad-lib to a delighted audience of tots and toddlers, squabble over who's captain, and mix acrobatics with pratfalls. There’s juggling and and a lot of chasing each other around the stage. Galouye, Jenkinson and Letch are good at the slapstick, even if they're not the most natural actors. But Letch banters with the best of them and his exuberance powers the show through the scrappier moments. A rock-y soundtrack keeps the volume up.
The treasure-quest storyline is as baggy as a sail on windless day and easily forgotten. There’s also a fair bit of treading water as some of the acts run on. If you’re a grown-up circus aficionado, you probably won’t be blown away by the Cyr wheel and seesaw set-pieces. Then again, the sight of three grown men in pirate hats fighting with balloon swords is likely to crack the most barnacled heart.