Fifteen men on the dead man’s chest—
Yo-ho-ho, and a bottle of rum!
Drink and the devil had done for the rest—
Yo-ho-ho, and a bottle of rum!
Adventure, buried treasure, double-crossing pirates and bucket loads of swashbuckling action… you’ll find this and more in the latest production from the Singapore Repertory Theatre’s The Little Company, Treasure Island.
Treasure Island is one of those classics that has greatly influenced our popular culture, having introduced so many of the elements that we associate with pirate stories — the hidden treasure, the treasure map where “X” marks the spot, and pirates with the wooden leg bearing parrots on their shoulders. Thus to see it take to the stage in a form accessible to children was a real pleasure.
This latest adaption of Robert Louis Stevenson’s novel of the same name tells the tale of Jim Hawkins, here interestingly a 13-year old girl with big dreams of being a pirate and sailing the seven seas. “Huh, Jim is a girl?” asked Noey. Yup, she is! There was no reason why not, and I thought switching Jim from a boy to a girl was an the inspired move, making the story a bit more relatable to girls. Jim is one day handed a treasure map by a mysterious seafarer who dies soon after, warning her against a man with a wooden leg. Jim realises that the map would lead her to the hidden gold of the infamous Captain Flint, and convinces Captain Smollett and Squire Trelawney to set sail in search for it. But the road to riches is never smooth sailing…
I won’t spoil the story for you but suffice to say that Jim and everyone aboard The Hispaniola learn a thing or two about what real treasure is and what truly matters.
Those familiar with the original tale might wonder, like I did, how the little ones might relate to a story which can be a bit grim and scary. Having watched a number of SRT’s The Little Company’s productions in recent years however, I had faith that they would pull it off. I was not disappointed. With song and dance, some cute puppetry and a touch of humour, they managed to keep even my four-year old Mei engaged. My seven-year old Noey loved it. Both children also particularly enjoyed getting up on their feet to dance and sing along with the cast to Life on the Sea right at the end.
I was also impressed with the sets and costumes, which were interesting and detailed, and yet, where the costumes were concerned, apparently very easy to change/modify because Kimberly Chan (who played the roles of the islander Ben Gunn, the scheming pirate Hands and Jim’s mother) could seemingly change in and out of her different outfits in a blink of an eye!
The best part for me however was that after the show, Noey asked me to pass him our copy of Treasure Island. I’ve been trying to get him to read the book (the full and unabridged version) for a while so it was particularly gratifying that this show has piqued his interest in the classic tale.
Treasure Island is lots of fun for the whole family. Don’t miss it!
Ticketing and Show Information
Season: 30 Oct to 13 Dec 2015
Venue: DBS Arts Centre — Home of SRT
Performance Times: Mon to Fri 10am, Sat and Sun 11am and 2.30pm
Ticket Prices: $35, $32 (Weekdays), $45, $42 (Weekends).
Duration: About 90 mins (with a 15 min interval)
Booking Through Sistic: http://sistic.com.sg/events/island1215 or call the ticketing hotline at 6348-5555
* We thank SRT for the media invitation to review this show and for all the pictures used in this post. All opinions remain, as always, authentically my own.