REVIEW: Treasure Island (Greenwich Theatre)

With the summer holidays coming to a close, we set sail on the seven seas this weekend with the most madcap band of sailors that South East London has to offer. Following on from the success of their inaugural in-house season, Greenwich Theatre’s family production for 2022 was an adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic, Treasure Island. We joined this chaotic crew for the final weekend of their epic adventure filled with pirates, parrots, mermaids and more.

Treasure Island sees orphaned cabin boy, Jim Hawkins (David Haller) trade a life of serving ale in the Admiral Benbow for an epic sea voyage aboard the Jolly Todger. Together with new acquaintance (and definitely not a pirate) Long John Silver (Lauren Drennan) and the mysterious yet strangely familiar Captain Birdseye (Helen Ramsay) Jim sets sail to Skeleton Island in search of treasure marked on a cryptically coded map. But with a mutinous crew seeking the treasure for themselves, and an encounter with a mermaid (Elliott Bornemann) potentially taking Jim’s life in an entirely unexpected direction, will he even make it to the island at all? And if he does get there, will he find a chest full of jewels or just a cheese-obsessed madman (Bornemann) with an inspiring but financially worthless message about the importance of the journey and the friends you make along the way?

Directed by James Haddrell, Treasure Island is full of fast-paced, family fun which offers something for everyone. Like last year’s summer productions of Pinocchio and The Wolves of Willoughby Chase, it’s performed by a small cast who hurl themselves around to cover an array of roles, with the chaos of quick changes adding to the comedy. And although it’s a smaller scale production than their award-winning annual pantomime, it offers all the hallmarks of a great panto, with a witty script, gender-swapped casting and just the right amount of innuendo. There’s also some great audience participation, with a child invited up to join in a game of Blankety Blank while one (un)lucky adult gets the pleasure of playing the recurring role of ‘Mucky Mike’. Actor-musician, David Haller impresses again in his return to the Greenwich Theatre stage as piano-playing Jim while Elliott Bornemann provides a lot of the most memorable moments in roles including Jim’s aquatic love interest and Alexa the Parrot (whose inability to follow oral instructions will greatly amuse anyone with an Amazon Echo device!)

We had a great afternoon at Treasure Island and would thoroughly recommend it to you except that the show has already finished, so instead we suggest you keep an eye out for more family theatre coming up at Greenwich Theatre, which always offers a fantastic programme for all ages. And make sure you get in there quickly for tickets to this year’s panto, Robin Hood!

Treasure Island ran at Greenwich Theatre from 19 August to 4 September 2022. We received complimentary tickets to the matinee performance on Saturday 3 September.