… I do apologise for that terrible title – but I never could resist a good pun! Or a bad pun, for that matter.
It’s taken me a while to get to see the National’s production of Treasure Island (written by Bryony Lavery), for one reason or another. (Money, time, Sunny Afternoon…) I love the story; I seem to remember being quite young when I first devoured the book by Robert Louis Stevenson – and I still get a childish enjoyment out of watching Muppet Treasure Island!
Something that made the show so enjoyable was the atmosphere created in the Olivier Theatre. Sounds of crashing waves upon entry, every last space utilised… The staging was utterly astounding! I can’t imagine it’s easy to create any kind of a ship on a theatre stage, but somehow the National managed it. To a soundtrack of sea shanties, three whole storeys of the Hispaniola start appearing from ‘below decks’, as it were. Even from near the back of the circle, the amount of detail on display was incredible!
One of my favourite parts was Long John teaching Jim about navigating by the stars. It was really creative to use lights on the ceiling to create constellations – not only does it look beautiful, but it keeps the whole auditorium involved.
I wasn’t sure about the whole idea about making Jim Hawkins a girl, I’ll be honest. It’s one of those things that tend to be done for the sake of it and don’t generally come off. However, on this occasion, I’m pleased to say that Patsy Ferran’s engaging performance convinced me otherwise! It definitely helped that Jim was a bit of a tomboy – meaning that both girls and boys (there were, understandably, a lot of children in the audience) could relate to the character, I think.
Arthur Darvill makes a fantastic pirate! Having watched him on TV in Doctor Who and Broadchurch, and onstage in Once, I was intrigued to see him play a villain. He really brought Long John Silver to life. I enjoyed the fact that he didn’t go down the ‘traditional’ route of a West Country pirate – instead, he was more of a Cockney scoundrel. And there was some great interaction with his parrot, Captain Flint!
There are five performances left before Treasure Island closes on Wednesday 8 April. There are currently still tickets available, so do try and grab one if you can!