"THE dragon nearly didn't make it. Coming from Kendal it got caught up in that traffic snarl-up on the A590."

Not your usual Thursday night conversation, but this is theatre, writes HELEN WALL.

Dragons, an electric guitar, a time machine and a medieval lute are all part of the story of Timecopter, dreamed up by the show's musical director and choreographer Elisabeth Greaves and staged by Furness Youth Theatre, at The Forum, Barrow.

Holding it all together is Jess Bailey as Miss Deri Daiken, the history teacher we all wish we had, whose enthusiasm and empathy for her subject sees her and a bunch of her pupils flung back in time to King Arthur's court.

You soon start to care for the fates of the pupils; big-hearted Rose (Maisie Wilcock), clever, numerate Mattie (Anna Lapegue), Cody and Logan the twins (Ben Thomas and Noah Jepson) and teddy-hugging Titch (Will Jones-Barnes). You even find yourself rooting for stroppy, annoying, self-centred Rocky (Marina Bailey).

The cast members are a lot younger than you would think - apart from the tiny cuties - as they all have their parts and moves secure for the opening night and generally perform with a maturity beyond their years.

An extra well done to the oldest in the show who are right in the middle of GCSEs but still manage to give their all.

After delivering some 21st century lessons to the past, particularly about the role of women in society, our time travellers spend the second half in an intriguing future with an original take on developments around the mobile phone (no spoilers).

It's a noisy story with a lot of shouting and a bit of screaming which makes Angel Young's still, well-paced, melancholic portrayal of Iona, half-human, half-robot especially appealing, while Rhodri Silcocks steals hearts as the kindly minstrel Scand and Lennon Scott brings the right tone of authority with a touch of arrogance to the part of Merlin.

He also does justice to possibly the best song of the night, Merlin's Vision, vying with Malika Taylor, the feisty rapper with the coolest moves.

A live band on stage adds a touch of something different, although it might not be the easiest thing to sing to on a big stage.