That wonderful team at Creation Theatre has put together yet another memorable Christmas show at the North Wall Arts Centre. This time they have turned their talents towards that well-known and much loved adventure story, Treasure Island.
Their chunky wooden set, constructed on two levels, is quite simple, but this does allow the imaginations of the audience to be cranked up, whilst the super lighting effects and smoke machines transform the structure and various boxes and crates into a pub, a ship, an island and other locations, making some characters' entrances both scary and menacing. The actors work as well as they can with the somewhat laboured script and convoluted storyline, and could really use more jokes throughout for greater oomph and audience engagement. However, there are some grand characterisations, notably Tim Wyatt's portrayal of Long John Silver; while Clare Humphrey's terrific version of Ben Gunn in the second half is the stand-out performance. Rosie Holt holds the story together as the narrator Jim, using her comic timing to good effect in keeping up the pace. Gareth Jones' music is very good, atmospheric at times and then jolly for the songs: it's a definite strength of the show. The swordfight scenes are excitingly choreographed and the costumes are really outstanding, too. There's a good deal of swashbuckling and the rum flows freely, while cannon balls whizz around the auditorium with lots of flashes and bangs.
As you might expect from Creation, it's a well put together piece with lots of energy and enthusiasm: an entertaining diversion to take your mind off endless turkey and away from the television.