Words by Helen Knott
On Friday 25th November, Treasure Island opens at the Birmingham REP – adapted for the stage by Byrony Lavery and directed by Phillip Breen.
Performances run from Monday to Saturday, until 7th January 2017. Tickets are priced from £10 – £37.50 – for direct event information, including performance times and online tickets sales, click here.
Christmas is a time for traditions: roast dinners, time with the family, festive re-runs on TV. Basking in the comfortingly familiar.
Theatres know this of course, and programme their Christmas seasons accordingly, with pantomimes and adaptations of well-known novels and films. This year the Birmingham REP has plumped for Treasure Island, a book that many of us will have read as children and which is often performed on stage.
This particular adaptation is by renowned playwright Bryony Lavery. Lavery has a long relationship with Birmingham: the REP has produced a number of her plays, including her most famous work, Frozen, in 1998 (later performed on Broadway and nominated for four Tony Awards) and she was a tutor on the University of Birmingham’s MA in Playwriting for a number of years.
In recent times Lavery has become as well known for adapting classic works as for writing her own plays, with Ibsen’s A Doll’s House and Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited both receiving Lavery interpretations. Her version of Treasure Island was first produced at the National Theatre in 2014, with reviewers appreciative of a production largely faithful to the book, with a few exceptions.
Probably the most notable of these exceptions is that Jim, the central character, is female in Lavery’s version, along with a number of other roles. Before finding mainstream success with Frozen, Lavery was mostly known for her work in gay and feminist fringe theatre. It’s hardly surprising then, that she has a feminist take on a traditionally male-centered tale.
The update should not only provide strong female role models for the girls in the audience, but also enough of an air of un-familiarity to keep one the most well known stories in English Literature interesting for the whole family.
Along with the promise of pirates and sword fights, entertaining songs and dance routines, and spectacular set and costumes, Treasure Island at the Birmingham REP promises to be a production that shows that everyone, even girls, can have adventures.
Pete Ashmore Badger
Greg Coulson Lucky Mickey
Andrea Davy Red Ruth
Anni Domingo Grandma Hawkins
Ru Hamilton Dick the Dandy
Dave Fishley Grey / Billy Bones
Michael Hodgson Long John Silver
Kaitlin Howard Joan The Goat
Sian Howard Dr Livesy
Sarah Middleton Jim
Bryony Lavery Writer
Phillip Breen Director
Mark Bailey Designer
Dyfan Jones Composer and Musical Director
Tina MacHugh Lighting Designer
Andrea J Cox Sound Designer
John Ross Movement Director
Renny Krupinski Fight Director
Craig Denstone Puppets
Sophie Paterson Assistant Director
Treasure Island runs at the Birmingham REP from 25th November 2016 to 7th January 2017. For direct event information, including performance times and online tickets sales, click here.
For more from the Birmingham REP, including full event listings and online ticket sales, visit www.birmingham-rep.co.uk