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Treasure Island review

Patsy Ferran as Jim Hawkins and Arthur Darvill as Long John Silver

Aaaa-haaaaaaahhh! As regular readers of this blog will know, I’m a big fan of Patsy Ferran. So I was delighted when Treasure Island appeared this week on the National Theatre’s YouTube channel, having missed it on the Olivier stage back in 2014.

“Girls need adventures too,” says Alexandra Maher’s Dr Livesey early on in Bryony Lavery’s adaptation which casts Ferran as Jim Hawkins but thankfully stops short of giving us a Long Jane Silver.

Arthur Darvill’s “one legged nightmare” LJS (complete with a metal limb that looks like it was stolen off a Terminator) makes an immensely likable villain, but it’s Ferran’s wide-eyed young adventurer who steals the show. No wonder she won awards for this.

Polly Findlay’s production is simultaneously menacing and funny and almost every line is delivered with a rum-sozzled shout. Lizzie Clachan’s immense multi-levelled set morphs impressively from inn to ship to island quicker than it takes to knock out a sea shanty on a fiddle.

The supporting cast is full of memorable characters such as the terrifyingly tattooed Bill Bones (Aidan Kelly) and Joshua James’ scrawny former cabin boy Ben Gunn, driven mad with solitude and obsessed by cheese.

The verdict? This land lubber loved it: Pieces of 8 out of 10.

Treasure Island is on the National Theatre at Home YouTube channel until 23 April

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