Growing up too quickly is a total drag!
One day you’re getting scolded for not cleaning your bedroom, the next day you’re fending off bad guys in the adult world with no fair warning of the change that was about to come. Can anything me more traumatic?
Jim Harkins (Thomas Mitchell Barnett) knows this feeling all too well in a family theatre event that lends itself to the idea that ‘treasure makes people behave in unpredictable ways.’ As the ‘last honest lad left in the world,’ he’s on mission that will outsmart marauders, take control of a ship, and enter into manhood.
With that said, the timing for the Schulich Children’s Plays / Stratford Festival adaptation is spot on in that young audiences are still familiar with the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise with more movies on the way. The biggest challenge, of course, is how to but a novel adaptive spin on Robert Louis Stevenson’s beloved children’s story that’s been stylized in various film versions.
Enter director Mitchell Cushman to steer the visual ship through Nick Bottomley’s snazzy projection treatment and the creative winds keep the storytelling vessel moving forward at full capacity. The play looks spectacular with a larger-than-life Union Jack, dangling performers and a rock score to boot.
Despite the technical splendor, the production doesn’t quite capture the true elements of adventure and danger the way it could for maximum cross-generational appeal. Both of which could be boosted through modestly deepened character design, a handful of memorable lines, and a story surprise or two.
This one’s for the kids but that’s not at all to say Treasure Island should be confused with kid stuff. Uplifting fun nonetheless.
REASURE ISLAND by Robert Louis Stevenson, adapted by Nicolas Billon April 22 – October 22, 2017 AVON THEATRE, Stratford, Ontario TICKETS $25.00 – $165.00 www.stratfordfestival.ca 1-800-567-1600 CAST Thomas Mitchell Barnet, Juan Chioran, Yolanda Bonnell, Miali Buscemi, Sarah Dodd, Deidre Gillard-Rowlings, Randy Hughson, Bruce Hunter, Jamie Mac,Katelyn McCulloch, Jennifer Rider-Shaw, Tahirih Vejdani and Gordon Patrick White DIRECTOR Mitchell Cushman SET Douglas Paraschuk COSTUMES Charlotte Dean LIGHTING Kevin Fraser COMPOSER & SOUND DESIGN Debashis Sinha ASSITANT DIRECTOR Tyler Sequin