We were thrilled to be invited to watch a performance of Treasure Island at The Old Rep. Birmingham last week. The show is running until the 3rd January 2016 with two performances most days and tickets starting from £12.95 and costing £55 for a family ticket.
The Old Rep is on Station Street Birmingham and can be found directly behind the station, or opposite the new John Lewis store. There are many places to park in the city, the Old Rep offers parking for 4 hours at the NCP car park on New Street. It was built in 1913 and has a lovely classic theatre feel with a steep auditorium, giving every seat a good view of the stage.
Steve Eagles, the writer, has adapted Treasure Island from the original book by Robert Louis Stevenson. The story is condensed and the characters bold. We also have an additional female lead character in Jesse, sister of the book’s hero Jim Hawkins.
The show is brought alive by the music of Steve Allan Jones. The tunes are catchy and will have you tapping your toes or clapping along, or you may find yourself charmed by the beautiful mermaid song. From the very start to the very end, the music and dancing is the soul of this production.
Jesse (Charlotte Swarbrick) and Jim (Gianni Cantone) do a fantastic job of involving the audience, getting the children to join in by helping them and learning their secret handshake. While the wonderfully evil Israel Hands (Barry Shannon) gives the audience the opportunity to boo and hiss. The silver tongued, not quite peg-legged Long John Silver (Ian Crowe) was equally funny and evil with a little good thrown in. There was even a talking, rapping parrot called Beaky Rascal (Adam Bailey) “I say Beaky, you say Rascal”
My girls were captivated by the beautiful mermaid princess (Ella Vise) and her lovely aria. Not quite so the Little Man though, who audibly groaned by her fourth appearance (boys will be boys) But even he was caught up in the mermaid song as he picked up on the waltz beat and started tapping and counting along to the music, 123, 123.
Star has autism and has a fascination for words. She likes to jumble things up and talk with what we call ‘wixed up mords.’ So, imagine her delight at the appearance of Ben Gunn (David Heywood) who spoke with all his words mixed up. He was most certainly her favourite character of the show. (Sorry, mermaid princess)
The entire performance is fast paced, exciting and fun and will not fail to entertain children of all ages and their grown-ups. It doesn’t get too scary or over excited which is great for children like Star who sometimes find performances like this overwhelming. My Little Man is five years old and like a typical little boy finds it difficult to sit still for any length of time, so the fact that he managed to sit through the whole performance shows that it has a good pace of action.
|On stage with the cast|
As a special treat at the end of the show we were able to meet some of the cast. My children didn’t let me down by putting forward really important questions like Boo asking “is the sky really real” and Star asking “was the dead man at the beginning really dead?”
The Little Man was completely thrilled to be given a demonstration of how the ghost appeared from the treasure chest. Oh the fun he would have had if he’d been allowed to play with that box!
I would like to thank the cast and crew for their hospitality and making our visit really special.
|Boo, with the Mermaid Princess and Jesse|
Disclosure: we were given tickets to the show in return for promoting the show’s art competition earlier this year. Star, Boo and Little Man also entered the competition and were thrilled to see their work on the wall at The Old Rep.