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Treasure Island

“A lively production”

For the staging of Kate Ferguson and Susannah Pearse’s musical adaptation of Treasure Island, the Octagon has moved from the cosy intimacy of the Library Theatre to the wide stage of the conference space at Bolton Wanderers’ stadium. The larger scale suits Tim Jackson’s lively production, which boldly evokes a world fit for swashbuckling adventures.

Subtle shifts in James Perkins’ set and Johanna Town’s lighting design quickly establish a change of place, such as when sails, rigging and an aquamarine glow transform the tavern into a ship at sea. From time to time, claps of thunder and incidental music add to the sense of impending peril.

As Jemima ‘Jim’ Hawkins, Ami Okumura Jones is very good at conveying Jim’s anguish when alone in a makeshift boat on a tumultuous sea, though she sometimes appears less comfortable in song. Elsewhere, John Lord’s Long John Silver masterfully takes control of the stage; from his snarling, gruff voice to the curl of his lip, Lord throws himself into the role of pirate master. He brings out the best in the young company, too, with the amusing ‘Mind Your Ps and Qs’ providing one of the musical and lyrical highlights.

Pearse’s score, inspired by a range of genres from sea shanties to calypso and jazz, is capably performed by cast members playing a dizzying array of instruments. Although a surreal song about cheese jars slightly, overall the show triumphs in making Stevenson’s classic tale seem as accessible and entertaining as it is thrilling.

Lotte Wakeham announced as new artistic director at the Bolton Octagon

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Production Details
Production nameTreasure Island
VenueUniversity of Bolton Stadium
StartsDecember 5, 2019
EndsDecember 29, 2019
Running time2hrs5mins
AuthorRobert Louis Stevenson
AdaptorKate Ferguson
ComposerSusannah Pearse
Book writerKate Ferguson
LyricistSusannah Pearse
DirectorTim Jackson
Assistant directorEllie Hurt
Musical directorMatthew Malone
ChoreographerJulia Cave
Fight directorKenan Ali
Set designerJames Perkins
Costume designerJames Perkins
Lighting designerJohanna Town
Sound designerAndy Graham
CastBen Simon, Ebony Feare, Heather Phoenix, Henry Bauckham, Jack Lord, Ami Okumura Jones
TechnicalAbigail Smith, Nicola Redman
Production managerGreg Akehurst
Stage managerSophia Horrocks, Lizzi Adams, Victoria Hubbard
Head of wardrobeSu Newell
ProducerOctagon Theatre
VerdictFun and well-designed musical version of the pirate story full of atmosphere and intrigue
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Natalie Douglas

Natalie Douglas

Natalie Douglas

Natalie Douglas

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