Treasure Island (3 stars)

Old school seafaring romp with added visuals turns Stevenson's novel into panto-style fun

Treasure Island

Once upon a time, this kind of show was a staple of the children's theatre world. Happily, things have moved on – so if you want something more nuanced and subtle for your young charges, look elsewhere. If, however, you fancy a sing-a-long, unpretentious, straight down the line piece of commercial theatre, then the Treasure Island team play that card very well.

All the major players from Robert Louis Stevenson's novel are here: Jim Hawkins, Long John Silver and Billy Bones, as is the basic plot, delivered by lively cast members Tom Beard and Rachael Born – neither of whom would look out of place on the panto stage.

Together they enlist the audience to help them find the eight gold coins that lead to the treasure, encouraging us to take part in a victory dance each time one is discovered (although by coin eight, enthusiasm in the crowd is understandably waning).

The lack of fellow performers is made up by video footage, which is also handy for reminders about clues, ensuring even the youngest viewers can keep up with the plot. While sing-alongs like 'Row Your Boat' and 'Over the Deep Blue Sea' come with suitable actions to keep everyone lively.

Gilded Balloon at the Museum, until 28 Aug (not 12, 13, 22), 10am, £8–£9 (£6–£7).

Treasure Island

  • 3 stars

A high-energy adaptation for kids of Robert Louis Stevenson's pirate-flavoured classic.


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