Friday, 13 February 2015

'Treasure Island' x 2 @ National Theatre

Okay, so there was no grog flavoured ice-cream but I still enjoyed 'Treasure Island' at the National Theatre at Christmas so I booked to see the show again. This time we were in the fifth row of the stalls, in the middle and with a perfect - and close - view of the action. One of the good things about being so close was that I could see all the little ticks and movements of the animatronic parrot that sat on Long John's shoulder. 'Pieces of eight!' eh Parrot? And nicking Long John's sausages when he's cooking in the galley and the parrot looking away as if to say 'I have no idea what you mean'. O yes Captain Flint you rascal, I know your sort.

Anyway, where was I? O yes, being closer gave me a great view of the sword fight between Billy Bones and Black Dog which wasn't so much swashbuckling as lunging forward in the hopes of hitting something. Not the most elegant of sword fights but quite realistic when you think of the weight of a cutlass and flailing round with it. And pirates probably weren't the most healthy and agile of sea-farers. It was also interesting to see Billy covered in tattoos which, from further back aren't terribly clear on his arms.

When the good ship Hispaniola rises from the stage for the first time it's still a spectacle as we see the rooms below-decks and the crew starts wandering round them just as if we sliced down the middle of the ship to show us all areas, even down to the crew hammocks in the bilges. It's a wonderful sight seeing it rise up and up as we watch it emerge from the stage and netting appearing to climb on in the battle scene that closes the first half.

The island is still a bit meh with not a palm tree in sight - we all know that desert islands are covered in palm trees, that's a known fact and is probably a law too. But the action takes us forward as Long John faces down a mutiny against his leadership - you just can't trust pirates these days, can you? - and young Jim befriends Ben Gunn, sails the ship herself, rescues her friends, finds the treasure and lives happily ever after… except for the dreams.

It's great fun and, as you might have guessed, I loved it. Again! I must be an embarrassment to be with when I see this show - I go all 'avast there' and 'oo arrr' and 'lubbers' all over the shop. Sorry about that. And I did ask for grog-flavoured ice cream at half time and the usher looked startled for a moment and then laughed and gave me vanilla - didn't he realise I was serious? I should've run him through with my cutlass the damned lubber… except I didn't have one on me. Drat! That's one of the drawbacks of living in the 21st Century.

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