I’M NOT from Cornwall, and I’ve never seen the film, but I do love a sea shanty so when Fisherman’s Friends: The Musical opened at Mayflower Theatre, I made sure I was there.

And I didn’t regret it.

This production is a joyful, feel-good voyage of friendship, community and music, as it follows a group of working fisherman from Port Isaac in Cornwall.

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The group sing 200-year-old sea shanties on the docks and in local pubs when they are seen by a music manager who is down on his luck.

He offers them a record deal, and the group of village singers suddenly find themselves in the Top 10 and playing to the crowds at Glastonbury!

The moving set, designed by Lucy Osborne, manages to bring the sea into the theatre and James Grieve’s direction ensures the transitions between boat and bar are smooth.

Daily Echo:

This is a touching tribute to the real Fisherman’s Friend, and the singing is exceptional throughout, with the whole ensemble often on stage at the same time – making it hard to pick out individual cast members for recognition.

For me, James Gaddas was outstanding as Jim, and his emotion in some of the scenes and songs was certainly felt by the audience.

Pete Gallagher’s Leadville was another favourite, his cheekiness shone through and I found myself searching him out on stage whenever I could.

Daily Echo:

And boy can Parisa Shahmir, who plays Alywyn, sing!

Debt, death, love and grief feature heavily in the story, with plenty of laughs and a little local rivalry with Devon thrown in for good measure.

The audience were tapping along from the moment the curtain rose, and with a score that includes famous old shanties, What Shall We Do With a Drunken Sailor and Leave Her Johnny, Leave Her, along with the more modern, Cousin Jack and Tidal Pool – it’s hardly surprising.

Daily Echo:

I’ll be singing some of the tunes in the show for days, but I’ll be smiling while I do it!

Fisherman's Friends: The Musical runs until Saturday, tickets available from: mayflower.org.uk or 02380 711811.

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