Treasure Island (tour - Cudmore Grove, Mersea Island)
With Piers Wehner and Simon Humphreys' take on the classic Robert Louis Stevenson tale of high seas derring-do, Cambridge Touring Theatre have picked a show with plenty for both the boys and the girls in their audiences. The basis of the story is all there, but a couple of female pirates and would-be pirates have come onto the scene.
Young Jim needs Red Ruth if he is to leave Treasure Island in one piece, never mind about with pieces-of-eight. There are catchy songs as well. I liked Jim's plaintive "Just a boy's life" and Ruth's "I'd rather be a girl" as well as the sing-a-long "We are jolly pirates" and "Welcome to the island". In"When I was just a lad", Silver points out hat he and Jim have come from very similar beginnings.
Lee Peck is a sympathetic Jim and Emma Clare the quick-thinking Ruth. The other players double roles; Nicola Foxfield as Racheal Roughneck and Barnacle Bess (thoroughly untrustworthy, the pair of them) with Tomas Loftus as Billy Bones and Captain Smollett (obviously a close relation of WS Gilbert's Sir Joseph Porter).
Villainous yet oddly likeable Long John Silver is Marcus Houden, logically doubling as Desperate Dan. Michael Ayiotis is Blind Pew, whose arrival at the Admiral Benbow Inn triggers the story, and marooned Ben Gunn, not to mention Gunn's glove-puppet nemesis the Sock Monster. The musical supervisor is Tom Curran and the director Barry Evans.