Performed during 2010
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Reviewed by Peter Reed for Surrey Mirror & Coulsdon and Purley Advertiser
A Gripping Yarn
Celebrating their 40th anniversary and their 16th year of open air productions, Theatre Workshop Coulsdon (TWC) found themselves in new surroundings at the Coulsdon Manor Hotel & Golf Club – a perfect setting for their production of Treasure Island. For a company renowned for not doing the ordinary, it may have seemed strange for them to be repeating this production for the fourth time in their existence but it certainly appeared to be a popular choice both with the company and audience alike.
This was a wonderful adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson’s original seafaring adventure, much in the Disney vein of a gripping tale with humorous overtones and TWC’s own inspired twist of having the goodies played by the girls and the villains by the men.
Told in episodic manner, the scenes were nicely interwoven with a feast of traditional sea songs and shanties, delivered from the side stage by their own vocalists and makeshift band Ninepence Three Farthings.
Set designer Mike Brown had created a single wooden set piece which proved equally adaptable as the interiors of the Admiral Benbow and Spyglass Inns as well as the fortifications of the stockade on Treasure Island.
Most impressive though, was the transition to the poop deck of the Hispaniola, from the raising of the mizzen mast to the wheeling of the capstan.
Attention to detail was first class, not only in costumes and wigs but also in the plethora of authentic looking propos. Of critical importance was the sound system, which not only gave excellent amplification of the players but also relayed some fine background effects, though I suspect the breeze rustling in the trees was courtesy of nature herself!
It was pleasing to see that under the capable direction of Chris Argles, the large cast of players had all acquired individualistic personas, and all seemed comfortable with their command and interpretation of old colloquial English text.
Of the main characters there were some fabulous interpretations from Hannah Montgomery (Jim Hawkins), Luke Argles (Long John Silver), Richard Lloyd (Black Dog), Dawn Lock (Squire Trelawney), Emma Griffin (Captain Smollett) and Bruce Montgomery (Ben Gunn).
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