Robert Louis Stevenson’s 1883 adventure novel – featuring “rip-roaring action, swash-buckling swordplay, battling buccaneers and hidden treasure” – has been adapted for the stage by Ken Ludwig and is directed by Sean Holmes, recently appointed as the next artistic director of west London’s Lyric Hammersmith.
Keith Allen is joined in the cast by Michael Legge (as Jim Hawkins), Tony Bell (Bones/Captain Smollett), Paul Brennen (Ben Gunn/Black Dogg), John Lightbody (Blind Pew/Trelawney), and Dermot Kerrigan (Flint/Dr Livesy) as well as James Atherton, Mark Bagnall, Matt Costain, Estella Daniels, Branwell Donaghey, Howard Gossington, James Lailey, Mark Theodore and Sharlene Whyte. Sean Holmes directs.
Treasure Island is designed by Shunt’s Lizzie Clachan with lighting by Paul Anderson, sound by Emma Laxton and music by Tom Haines and Ross Hughes, performed by a live band on stage. It’s produced by Brian Eastman and Andrew Welch.
While Whatonstage.com’s Michael Coveney was won over by the “hugely enjoyable” night, most overnight critics left the Theatre Royal Haymarket feeling distinctly underwhelmed by the “largely inert”, “noisy” and “knowing spectacle”. Amongst over-acting elsewhere, Keith Allen won favour with several critics for “refreshing restraint” and “gangsterish charm” in a “creditable performance”. There was also praise for supporting cast members Michael Legge, Tony Bell and John Lightbody and for Lizzie Clachan’s “atmospheric” set design.
- by Terri Paddock