TREASURE ISLAND – the Curse of the Pearl Necklace
by Jon Bradfield & Martin Hooper.
Above the Stag Theatre Arch 17, Miles Street SW8 1RZ To 10 January 2015.
Tues – Sat 7.30pm, Sun 6pm, Mat Sat 3.30 pm & Sun 2pm.
Runs 2hr 30min One interval.
Review: William Russell 4 December.
Lots of jolly rogeringSlapdash, very funny and for adults only, this is the sixth pantomime written by Jon Bradfield and Martin Hooper, the second to be directed here by Andrew Becket.
It tells, more or less, how Jim Hawkins, his mother Sally, an innkeeper in Michael Cove on the Cornish coast, get involved with Long John Silver, a cursed pearl necklace, a map showing the site of hidden treasure, an Australian merman called Ethel, a gorilla and Prince Daryl of Atlantis.
Plot, of course, is never the thing in pantomime. While much of it is splendidly funny a little more rigour with the blue pencil would have made it even funnier. The same goes for some of the performances and the direction.
Philip Lawrence’s Mrs Hawkins is a fine dame, but tries a little too hard – a little restraint would be far funnier. On the other hand Alex Wood as Long John Silver is spot-on. The writers have deprived him of a wooden leg, preferring to turn him into something of a two-handed Captain Hook. As to where the hook is, perhaps it is best not to ask, but it is a most handsome appendage.
There is a splendid opening to the second act when everyone ends up in scuba-masks under the sea singing to ‘Sailing’ – “We are drowning!” While the double entendres abound, there are even more single ones and lots of rather good jokes. Sally is said to have ‘an hourglass figure – everything is going downwards’. When looking at Hook’s parrot someone is asked if they had ever seen one before and replies, ‘No, but I’ve laid my hands on a cockatoo.’ High art is alive and well.
Hugh O’Donnell vamps it up nicely as Ethel the merman, Luke Webber twinkles sweetly as Prince Daryl and takes his clothes off quite a lot, while Lucas Livesey’s Jim Hawkins goes in search of seamen with a will. There is plenty of audience participation, shouting out all the traditional pantomime cries. Those who sit in the front row do so at their peril. As adult pantomimes go, this one is worth going to.
Ethel, a Merman: Hugh O’Donnell.
Long John Silver: Alex Wood.
Marina: Briony Rawle.
Jim Hawkins: Lucas Livesy.
Sally Hawkins: Philip Lawrence.
The Captain: Andrew Truluck.
Daryl: Luke Webber.
Josephine/ Miranda: Ellen Butler.
Director: Andrew Beckett.
Designer/Costume: David Shields.
Lighting: Elliot Griggs.
Musical Arranger/Director: Daniel Johnson.
Projections: Maximilien Spielbichler.
Associate designer: Zoe Hurwitz.