The much loved adventure novel, Treasure Island, written by Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson, will be opening the Olivier Theatre later this year, bringing the swashbuckling mysteries of the book to the stage over the Christmas period. However, you should expect a few departures from the original storyline as the production has put some efforts into reinventing it slightly to give it their own twists, turns and talking parrot incarnations.
The biggest aspect of the original storyline to be changed from what we can see is that the main protagonist, Jim Hawkins, is going to be a girl, instead of the innkeepers son, as was the case in Stevenson’s novel. Although with such a significant departure in the construct of such a key character in the story, we’re expecting there to be a few more surprises in the Olivier Theatre’s version of Treasure Island, which had been adapted by Bryony Lavery.
As a result of the gender adaptation, the story picks up with the arrival of a frightening stranger called Billy Bones at the Admiral Benbow Inn, where Jim Hawkins, the grand-daughter of the innkeeper, becomes embroiled in the buccaneering world of gentlemen o’fortune, AKA pirates. When dark events lead Jim on an adventure to find treasure on a remote island, he comes face-to-face with the deceptive skulduggery of Long John Silver and his band of men, who have got their own sights set on the treasure too.
The play is scheduled to open at the Olivier Theatre on the 3rd December 2014, with a stint that will see the play getting run through until 8th April 2015. Ticket prices start from as little as £15, making it a very reasonably priced opportunity to see a great story played out on the London stage, with more expensive tickets available at £28, £39 and £50, and half-price tickets for under-18 years old, excluding tickets under £28. Show times are 7pm between Monday and Saturday, with the addition of 2pm matinees on Wednesdays, Saturdays and the occasional Sunday.
A large cast has been assembled to put on the performances, including Arthur Darvill, who Dr Who fans might recognise as Rory from the 11th Doctor Who series. Raj Bajaj, Oliver Birch, Angela de Castro, Daniel Coonan, Paul Dodds, Heather Dutton, Patsy Ferran, Nick Fletcher, Joshua James, Lena Kaur, David Langham, Helena Lymbery, Alastair Parker, Tim Samuels, David Sterne, Ben Thompson and Roger Wilson have also been cast in the play.
The Bryony Lavery adaptation of Treasure Island will be directed by Polly Findlay, who’s previous work includes Protest Song at the National Theatre, and War Horse‘s Berlin production. Design is being led by Lizzie Clachan, with lighting by Bruno Poet, music and sound by Dan Jones and songs by John Tams.
If the production of the play itself is anywhere near as cool as the impressive poster design above we should be in for a very good adaptation of the book that gave us our modern day image of pirates.