Part of new artistic director Dominic Dromgoole’s emphasis on new work at the South Bank landmark, Bent’s play, which has the unwieldy subtitle “The Early Life, Adventures and Pyracies (sic) of the Famous Long John Silver before he lost his leg”, is set around the 17th-century pirate republic of Rabat, where John Silver and his crew of political radicals are feeling disaffected. Ye be warned, the play, directed by Paines Plough artistic director Roxana Silbert, “features bare flesh and filthy language”.
First night critics were divided by Under the Black Flag, with opinions ranging from “enthralling” to “uneven” and “ramshackle”. While Whatsonstage.com’s Michael Coveney enjoyed the adventure on the high seas, many of his peers found it lacking and, by the end of the play, which some deemed over-long and confused, they were flagging.
- by Caroline Ansdell