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Treasure Island

Date

7th December 2016

Society

Sleaford Little Theatre

Venue

The Playhouse, Sleaford

Type of Production

Play

Director

Helen Hill

Report

Author: Peter Breach

 Before I make any comments on this particular work I should make it clear that I have a certain affinity for pirates. My first stage role, at the age of ten, was as a captain of a pirate crew and following the Director’s instructions, I was most definitely a “male pirate”. This full length play is adapted from Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic tale about pirates and their swashbuckling adventures in which the gender balance has been altered by the adaptor so that the principal character, Jim Hawkins, is played by a girl (Molly Inkpin) and a very good job she made of it too; other females portraying male characters in the cast also acquitted themselves well. There were occasions when gender issues were raised, such as when Jim is informed “maps are for men, not girls”, but this remark seemed rather pointless since there were, of course, female pirates in real life who became notorious for their barbaric acts and lack of sympathy. The best characterisation, taking into account the audience’s reaction, was delivered by Callum Thursby playing the part of Ben Gun; his portrayal of a man who has been struggling to survive having been abandoned on an island was very convincing; his overwhelming desire to taste his favourite cheese was strongly conveyed. One can only guess if there was a particular reason for adopting the Steampunk style of costume. Unfortunately with such a large cast on the relatively small stage and little opportunity to incorporate major set designs, this production did not include the very impressive features that have been used in some other staged versions. Without their having read the original work, I feel many people would have difficulty in comprehending this adapted storyline and remain unaware of Stevenson’s ability to write such an interesting tale.