by Daniel Winder
based on the book by Robert Louis Stevenson
St Paul’s Church, Covent Garden to 28 August
London to28 August 2016.
Wed-Sat 7pm Mat Mon, Thu, Sat, Sun 2.30pm.
Runs 2 hr One interval.
Review: William Russell 6 August.
Timbers shiver splendidly as Long John Silver sails again-and a reviewer’s unplanned appearance.
Having done the serious stuff with a fine rendering of Much Ado About Nothing the Irish company now turn their attention to their younger audience with this ramshackle but utterly delightful adaptation of Stevenson’s novel.
As ever the small cast play several roles, dashing off in all directions and displaying amazing energy and versatility. The difference with this staging is that it runs in two parallel forms. The audience is divided into pirates and privateers on arrival and after the opening scene inside the church when the plot about going to seek Captain Flint’s long lost treasure is set in motion, and a scene on board the Hispaniola, the two sections separate and two story lines are performed simultaneously.
This requires quite a lot of thespian dashing two and fro and in one case the total disappearance of one character for quite a long time. Members of the audience are given roles – I got to play Hunter, a privateer, and had to hoist a flag and clamber up to the poop deck and steer the ship while brandishing a pistol and wearing a rather splendid nautical hat. It is very funny, the audience of mostly under tens and cool mummies, perspiring daddies and fond grandparents had a whale of a time as did the company.
Harold Addo, making his professional debut, was a charming and willing Jim Hawkins, whose adventures the book is about and Dafydd Gwyn Howells exuded sinister charm as Long John Silver. But naming names is not the point. They were all good.
As a family entertainment it could hardly be bettered. The only flaw is that the opening plot setting scene takes place inside the church where the acoustic is terrible and understanding what they are saying difficult. In the open air, however, it is fine.
As for Daniel Winder’s version of the tale – it may take liberties but they work – and the action is backed by some rollicking songs by Candida Caldicott. As for my performance, several members of the audience congratulated me afterwards, more out of relief that they had not been conscripted than anything else I suspect.
Jim: Harold Addo.
Captain Smollett & Billy Bones: Adrian Quinton.
Black Dog: Dominic Garfield.
Bob Taylor, Blind Pew & Long John Silver: Dafydd Gwyn Howells.
Mrs Livesey: Rebecca Rodd.
Squire Trelawney & Ben Gunn: Nick Howard-Brown.
Mrs Hawkins & Isabella Hands: Anne-Marie Piazza.
Director: Daniel Winder.
Composer: Candida Caldicot.
Set Designer: Valentina Turtur.
Lighting Designer: Benjamin Polya.
Costume Designer: Maddy Ross-Mason.
Sound Designer: Filipe Gomes.
Movement Director: Stephanie Bradbury.
Fight Director: Roger Bartlettt.