Treasure Island review at Williamson Park, Lancaster – ‘charming family fun’

The cast of Treasure island at Williamson Park, Lancaster. Photo: Joel Fildes. The cast of Treasure island at Williamson Park, Lancaster. Photo: Joel Fildes.

Ever seen a duck have a stand-off with a pirate ship? The duck comes off worst. It does, however, make for an entertaining end to The Dukes’ summer show in Williamson Park.

Treasure Island is the latest in a 30-year string of shows in the park. They have become something of an institution. Swathes of the audience arrive in suitably piratical attire, and there’s good cheer in the face of the inevitable rain.

Debbie Oates’ adaptation gives us plucky Jem Hawkins (Natasha Davidson), bullied by her peers and feeling ignored by her family, and longing for adventure with her travelling Uncle.

A slightly convoluted plot surrounding a copy of Treasure Island that contains an actual treasure map leads Jem and Uncle David (Niall Costigan) to set sail, meeting Long John Silver (Jake Norton with an extraordinary pirate accent) and the rest on their way. Director Joe Sumsion makes an enjoyable, though long, family show, complete with excellent, back-chatting parrot and a rather splendid shark.

The park itself provides designer Barney George with plenty of scope for ships and stockades alike, and the cast is enthusiastic especially The Dukes Young Company, who play the pirate crew.

The downside of being outdoors is that the sound quality is distractingly bad – crackly mics and speakers up trees make it hard to discern who’s speaking at times.

It’s a fun show, though, with a couple of magical moments – the pirate ship floating off into the dusk, accompanied by outraged ducks, being one.

Promenade family fun with charming puppets and an enthusiastic cast