Treasure Island

Date 13th January 2022
Society Compton Little Theatre
Venue Compton Village Hall
Type of Production Pantomime
Director Frazer Woodhams & Fred Pollard
Written By Frazer Woodhams & Fred Pollard

Report

Author: Graham Botterill

Treasure Island is a classic adventure story by Robert Louis Stevenson. This production has been adapted for the stage by its directors: Frazer Woodhams and Fred Pollard.

The Village Hall is in the main street of Compton, near Guildford. It’s attractive and well set out with plenty of seating, both raked and on the flat. FOH were just as described, “a splendid team”. As well as ushering us to our seats, raffle tickets and ice-creams were brought round to the audience. The programme was a basic listing of cast and crew. But it was beautifully illustrated.

The painted backdrops were absolutely stunning! These included: the ship, the inn, Skull Island and a spooky cave. The Set Artist (Pat Williams) is to be congratulated…and cherished. The sets were well made by Gordon Ayshford, particularly the rowing boat. Scene changes, by Stephen Pugh & his team, were always neatly performed. Props were attractive and were used smoothly. Charlie Anderson’s lighting was well executed throughout. The tableau for Billy Bowles’ story was very nicely lit, lightning flashes were spot on and the disco spotlights were great fun.

Ian Wilkie used recordings for all the sounds and music. The sound effects were extremely good. The thunder was well-timed and frightening; and the soundscapes, such as sea sounds and dripping water in the cave were delightful and provided an atmospheric background. Music was well-chosen and didn’t drown the singers.

Makeup, by Bronwen Reinhardt and Jackie Groes, was subtly applied (except for the Dame, of course !) Costumes were provided by Rhona Wilkie, Nikki Mansell-Rogers and yet another “splendid team”. Outfits were attractive and colourful and generally bang on the period. The Dame’s transformations were very fast and impressive.

Although very much a pantomime, with lots of audience participation, this adaptation stuck very closely to the original adventure story; and the villains, Long John Silver and Blind Pew, were far from sugar-coated. Silver narrated the back-story…reminiscing of Captain Flint and his treasure. Noel Ruddy was very good in the part: by turns menacing, obsequious to Captain Smollett and fatherly to Jim Hawkins, who he hoped to turn to the pirate life. The young hero, Jack Hawkins, also set the scene. He was well played by Luke Bevan, in a huge role that incorporated many songs.

Sean Lyttle played Dame Henrietta Hawkins in a fine, big’n’bouncy style. His singing, as displayed in I Want to Break Free was extremely good. The swift transition into Freddie Mercury, complete with Hoover, was a high point of the show! Amelie Wilson and Isabel Moore enthusiastically played Jolly and Roger, the comedy duo who wound up the audience with every appearance. The show was crammed full of jokes; and these two delivered most of them, with quick-fire repartee.

Mandy Scully was excellent as the nice but dim Squire Trelawney, with lashings of gusto and a fine singing voice. Julia Grant played Captain Smollett, the object of the Squire’s affections. Ramrod straight and very authoritative, she ran the crew ragged. Blind Pew (Rachel Jenner) displayed good characterisation as the evil assistant to Silver. Billy Bones was the doomed ex-pirate, played well by Gordon Ayshford. Rhona Wilkie was most amusing as the mad castaway, Ben Gunn.

The early chorus number We’re the Very Best at Being Bad, by the (extremely) Junior Chorus, was delightful. They were so cute and so well drilled; it was a disappointment that we didn’t see them again. The Chorus gave fine support to the songs and action throughout. Gonna be the Best Day of my Life was enthusiastically delivered; and the routine for If I was not Upon the Sea was particularly well co-ordinated and great fun.

Congratulations and profound thanks to Frazer Woodhams, Fred Pollard and their cast & crew. We had a splendid evening!


Gordon Ayshford as Billy Bones.  Amelie Wilson & Isabel Moore as Jolly and Roger.

Ensemble.

Sean Lyttle as Henrietta Hawkins, Luke Bevan as Jim Hawkins

Noel Ruddy as Long John Silver