When I arrived to watch ACTS’ performance of Treasure Island The Panto, I was instantly transported back in time about ten years to my childhood days in village halls, surrounded by raffle tickets and cups of lovingly made coffee in white ceramic mugs.
I felt an instant bout of nostalgia, remembering my days of prancing about on a stage side by side with my dad.
I instantly wanted to love Treasure Island and was very excited to see it.
I was almost instantly disappointed, but this had nothing to do with the opening number performed very well by Daniel Knight as Jim Ladd; this was in fact due to the woman in the row in front of me filming the entire opening five minutes on her mobile despite the innumerable signs and pre-show announcement asking her not to.
I must commend Zoe Denyer (Long Joan Sliver) as not only was she a heck of a panto villain, with her silky smooth voice and natural command of the stage, but she also gave as good as she got from the audience and would have shown a comedian a thing or two about handling hecklers with expertise and class.
I also want to make special mention of Tom Searle (Billy Fishbones) who had fab comic timing and made me laugh out loud when his head was lifted from a table, displaying his ‘dead pirate face’. His drunken acting was also a delight to watch and I was disappointed to see very little of the young actor after his untimely exit.
Unfortunately I felt the energy dropped quite substantially after the opening section between Jim Ladd and Billy Fishbones and it took a little while to build up again. The show lacked a bit of ‘punch’ throughout and with a few tweaks here or there I think it would have been greatly improved.
In general there were a few too many awkward silences and when the show didn’t finish until 22:25 I definitely would have appreciated tighter timing on cues and visual gags.
My star of the show this evening goes to the small but unforgettable role of Blind Puke (Jim Crisp), who excelled in his act one part and got my laugh of the night with a rather amusing ‘Tesco till receipt’ gag which showed he has a great grasp of natural comic timing.
I would like to commend Jeff Carter and his sound desk as the audio cues were on point and the music perfectly chosen. The one thing that did let the show down however was the microphones which were only used for songs, meaning that a lot of dialogue was lost, especially for the role of Captain Haddock (Kath Worthy) who was wearing a full face mask. Unfortunately I could not hear the actor’s lines at all from where I was sat near the back.
The set design for Treasure Island deserves a special mention as it was fantastic and rather impressive for a small organisation. The colours were bold, vibrant and exciting and masterfully painted.
I do believe that the cast members where let down a little by their audience tonight as the lady in front of me (who filmed three separate snippets of five minutes a piece) was not the only audience member to do this, and I would wholeheartedly like to remind theatre goers that it is simply common courtesy to watch the show, and afford the actors the respect they deserve by not heckling or whispering throughout. There was a terrible case of the audience behaving badly this evening and it simply wasn’t fair on the cast who were obviously working very hard.
All in all, I had a pretty enjoyable (if long) evening, and must say that the only frustrations I felt tonight were towards my fellow audience members who should have shown much more respect for the fabulous efforts of the cast and crew.