Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Cloverdale Playhouse: "Treasure Island"

Aaaarrrgh! Ahoy, mateys! Shiver me timbers! -- At the penultimate performance of the Covid-delayed Cloverdale Playhouse production 0f Treasure Island, energy was high on stage and the audience was enthusiastic in its response.

Bryony Lavery's adaptation of the Robert Louis Stevenson 19th Century classic novel takes a number of liberties with the plot and characters, offering up a version that switches genders and infuses a lot of comic elements into the tale of Jim Hawkins's adventures in search of a lost pirate treasure.

Jim [Olive Henninger] serves as the play's narrator, taking audiences on a quest for Captain Flint's buried treasure with Squire Trelawney [Noah Henninger], Doctor Livsey [Bella Dennison], Captain Smollett [Landon Perdue], the nefarious Long John Silver [John Selden], and a mixed bag of pirate ruffians and a few good guys.

Director J. Scott Grinstead also designed an ambitious set complete with a revolving stage and a lot of other moveable parts that sometimes distracted from the smooth advancement of the plot. 

Costume designer Katie Pearson and her able team provided clever outfits appropriate to each character: memorable in this regard were for Mr. Selden's Long John Silver [with a couple of nods to Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean], Black Dog [Mike Winkelman], Bill Bones [Jacob Holmberg], and Blind Pew & Ben Gunn played by Jason Grinstead.

While the familiar story was given a rousing interpretation, a lot of important expository plot details were hard to hear due to rapid speech and "pirate" gravel-voices, as well as noisy stage business.  

These quibbles notwithstanding, the ensemble nature of the actors and the enthusiastic commitment to their roles helped to make this version of Treasure Island a pleasant Summertime entertainment.