Amy Henery reviews Treasure Island at Theatre Royal Wakefield

Published in T’Hud Magazine, October 2013

Mind the Gap has a reputation of retelling stories but giving them a modern day twist. Treasure Island has been retold by Olivier award winning playwright Mike Kenny. He draws his audience in with an everyday supermarket then mesmerises us with treasure, ships and plundering pillaging pirates of the seven seas!

Treasure Island consists of a cast of 4 professional actors, 3 of whom are disabled, this show continues Mind the Gap’s mission to create high quality inclusive theatre.

Jemima Hawkins – played by JoAnne Haines – is bored on a long night shift at the supermarket Flint’s. Listening to Treasure Island on her iPod, Hawkins is easily distracted from shelf stacking and soon her imagination starts to run wild and the supermarket becomes a place for this classic story to come alive. If you are unfamiliar with Treasure Island by Stevenson parts of this play can be difficult to follow, with lots of characters and action happening in only 70 minutes played by four actors. However, with the helpful projections and animations above the stage, along with the voice overs of text from the original novel, the audience followed the story and enjoyed every minute no matter what age they were. The supermarket scenery was simple but effective with a very smooth transition into a pirate ship. As we join Jemima in her late night fantasy we get tin cans for a telescope and loaves of bread for cutlasses.

The highlight of this piece however was the audience interaction; as soon as you step into the Theatre you feel involved in the show. 

The audience are handed programmes on arrival and told to follow the instructions and make them into pirate hats. The adults all think they can get away with only letting the kids join in but no, on entering the auditorium the four actors are pacing around greeting everyone and making sure everyone has got their hats firmly on their heads. They then proceed to teach us a song which we will have to sing throughout the show. They were back among the audience in the interval sharing sweets and picking on the bald guy in the front row.

I left the theatre that night with a black spot on my right hand, a pirate hat on my head singing ‘YO HO HO and a bottle of rum!!’ So join Mind the Gap as they tour around the country ‘til December 2013. It’s fun for all the family when these modern day and fantasy worlds collide.

 

Amy Henery writes for The University of Huddersfield Student Magazine – T’Hud