Director: Polly Findlay
Writer: Bryony Lavery
Based on: Robert Louis Stevenson‘s book
Cast: Patsy Ferran, Arthur Darvill, Joshua James, Tim Samuels, Oliver Birch, Angela de Castro, Daniel Coonan, Claire-Louise Cordwell, Paul Dodds, Heather Dutton, Nick Fletcher, Jonathan Livingston, Helena Lymbery
Seen on: 22.01.2015
Jim (Patsy Ferran) runs an inn with her grandmother that is close to the sea and one day they get visited by a pirate who talks of a scary one-legged man and soon passes on, leaving them with a treasure map. Dr Livesey (Helena Limberey) and Squire Trelawney (Nick Fletcher) decide that they want to find that treasure, inviting Jim along as the cabin boy. Among the crew they hire, there is also Long John Silver (Arthur Darvill), who has his own plans about the treasure.
I discovered Treasure Island comparatively late – I was 19 or so when I read it – and I fell in love with the book (I should re-read it soon). And this stage adaptation does it full justice, and even improving some things from the book.
There were many things that I loved about this adaptation, but what I loved most was the fact that they made Jim a girl. Nothing else was changed about the character but the gender. In fact, they included quite a few more women than the book (which practically has none) – some of the priates and Dr Livesey. That is what you get for hiring a female director and writer and it is awesome.
I also loved the production design in general and how each of the pirates got their own characteristics and personality, which, in their cartoonishness, really made the play feel more child-appropriate (even if it’s still one of the darker stories that kids can see/read). It also added a sense of humor – in fact, there was a lot more humor than I remembered from the book.
The cast was glorious. Above all Patsy Ferran who sparkles and shines as Jim, making her completely relatable and a proper heroine of her own story. And of course, Arthur Darvill as Long John Silver, who is still one of the best characters in the history of characters, and Darvill plays him with such relish, easily switching between paternal warmth and murderousness.
All in all, I really, really had fun watching this exciting play and I’d watch it again in a heartbeat.