Given that Poole is famously a sea-faring town, with a rich history of pirates and sailors visiting the port, it was a clever move to organize a production of Treasure Island at the Lighthouse, Poole. Based on the novel by Robert Louis Stevenson, Treasure Island follows the story of Jim Hawkins. It is set in the days of sailing ships and tells us of Jim’s adventures in his search for buried treasure.
Whilst I appreciate that not every Society has to ability to do this, it was really nice to see that the programmes were freely available for all in attendance. Anyone that read their programme would see that this production was very much a team effort from beginning through to end with students from different courses, including, BA (Hons) Acting, BA (Hons) Costume and Performance Design, and BA (Hons) Make-up for Media & Performance.
Staging for this production was impressive. The same set was used throughout the show but became a number of different things, including a pirate ship and a number of different tunnels. Some of the scene changes were quite intricate and had the potential to cause the show to be slow and sluggish. However, the stage hands were dressed in costume and sang sea shanties whilst they were working, which kept the momentum of the show moving well. There were some really lovely lighting moments as well, including a sunrise.
Costumes were typical of the 1800s, which signifies a job well done. It would appear that the costumes were made from scratch by the wardrobe department, headed up by Rachel Donald, which was doubly impressive. With cast and crew, there were quite a number of people to dress!
The vast majority of roles in Treasure Island are male roles; however, this production allowed for more female input and the lead role of Jim Hawkins was changed into a female role. This was played by Harriet Chattaway who was able to deliver a convincing Cornish accent throughout the entirety of the show.
Comic relief was provided by Nick Monfard in the role of Squire Trelawney, who played the bumbling, foolish character with great enthusiasm. A complete contrast to the intelligent and conservative Doctor Livesey who was played by Jenna Rodway.
Kai Antoine was well suited to the role of Long John Silver, playing the rather complex villain with aplomb. He also sported a rather convincing wooden leg, maintaining a limp throughout the full show.
There was some great characterization from the supporting characters as well, including Sam Bircher as Ben Gunn and Tereza Marques as Killigrew the Kind. Kathryn Meneely had some good comic moments as Joan the Goat. It was also nice to see some Puppeteering from Mirren Buchanan as the parrot Captain Flint.
The first act seemed to fly by, although the second act felt like it dragged a little bit by comparison. However, all in all, this is a show that’s worth seeing if you are interested in pirate history or you simply enjoy a good adventure story.