It’s always fun to see classic works of literature acted out on the stage, as you never know how it will be interpreted. Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic, TREASURE ISLAND, seems like a natural fit and one that would be exciting for both the cast and audience alike. In this new adaptation, written by Ken Ludwig and directed by Tony Filipone, it has mixed results.
After the obligatory “turn off your cell phone” speech by a pirate, we settled in to see the talent that Footlighters so delivers. TREASURE ISLAND immediately begins with a well-choreographed fight (by Payson Burt and Andres Becerra) with pirates running around everywhere. If you’ve ever been to this theater, you know it’s very small (only a few rows). I immediately got a very claustrophobic feeling, as the pirates were fighting and yelling next to me and directly in front of me.
While I enjoyed most of the actors’ performances, specifically Jim Fryer (Long John Silver), Ben Kendall (Blind Pew), and Sharon Nagy (Anne Bonny), this production really belongs to the lead character of Jim Hawkins (Macy Davis). Filipone says in his director’s note that “…we got an absolutely gorgeous young lady who convinced us that she could play a 14-year old BOY!” Davis gives a heartfelt performance as the boy who is given the treasure map by Billy Bones (Leigh Jacobs). She must deliver many monologues in the course of the production and does so with natural ease.
The show was not without some issues, as the audience should never be waiting for minutes in pitch-black darkness as a set changes. Also, as much as I admire Footlighters for taking on TREASURE ISLAND, the space was just too small for some scenes, specifically the pirate fights.
I said this before when I recently reviewed THE PIRATES OF PENZANCE that actors in these types of shows always seem to be having the time of their lives. It doesn’t matter what their day job is. At night, they get to turn into a pirate, and I imagine this is a lot of fun. The actors at Footlighters always show a passion for what they do that is really unmatched in this area.
by Robert Louis Stevenson
New Adaptation by Ken Ludwig
Directed by Tony Filipone
April 20 – May 5, 2012
58 Main Ave