Review by: Paul Towers, 18/12/18
Treasure Island adapted by Sandi Toksvig
Lyrics by Jenifer Toksvig, Composer David Perkins, directed by Matthew Forbes
Leicester Haymarket Theatre 13 December to 6 January 2019
“liberally littered with puns and groan-worthy jokes”
Robert Louis Stevenson’s book of Treasure Island has been done to death and is a staple of both professional and amateur companies up and down the country at this time of year. So it was with some trepidation that I ventured out on a cold, wet and windy December evening to see Haymarket Theatre’s first in-house production since its refurb.
Sandi Toksvig has taken liberal inspiration from The Play That Goes Wrong and set this version in the final dress rehearsal of a cash strapped production in an unspecified regional theatre. This is a genius way of staging a swashbuckling yarn of pirates, high seas and tropical islands with very little scenery or costumes. It also allows for lots of sly digs at less than professional productions. There are loads of local references, not only to Leicester but also to the fact that the Haymarket was dark for 10+ years.
The script bounces deliciously between the main story and the back stage tribulations and deficiencies with the wit that you would expect from Ms Toksvig. Liberally littered with puns and groan-worthy jokes there is plenty for both adults and children to laugh at.
The main cast of 10 adults is supplemented by local children working in three teams on different nights.
I would love to give credit to the various performers in their roles but there is no hint in the programme of who plays what. What I can say for sure is that the two puppets representing the parrot and Ben Gunn were great fun and Gary Lineker’s cameo on video elicited a knowing nod to Leicester.
This is an ideal show for all ages with original songs, dance routines and lots of laughs. Ideal festive fun for everyone.
Treasure Island is on at Haymarket Theatre until 6 January 2019
First published on Western Gazette