REVIEW: Treasure Island: A Musical Pantomime

The Murdoch Theatre Company presents Treasure Island: A Musical Pantomime, written by Kathryn Petersen and Michael Ogborn. Starring Ainsley Marr as Jamie Hawkins, Julia Parks and Dr. Livsee, Maximiliano Laffont as Squire Treelawnee, Rosalie Schneider as Miss Evelyn Treelawnee, Zenna Newman-Santos as Captain Smilenot, Evie Mcpherson as Ezekial Machete Scabs, Sean Wcislo as Tinnitus Tom the Terrible, Maggie Cope-Thomas as Israel Chopped Hand, Pheobe Dingli as Boyscout Devil Dan, Vasco Jansen as Long John Silver, Injeong Hwang as Polly the Parrot, Max Conroy as Mother Hawkins and Melissa Munoz Escobar as Mama Kura.

As you could guess it is loosely based on the 1882 adventure novel Treasure Island written by Robert Louis Stevenson, it shares most of the same characters and the typical start to this classic but doesn’t get too far before this all changes.

Going into the Nexus Theatre we are presented with a set depicting a ship’s deck as we are introduced by – and musically accompanied throughout – by James Jury to the pantomime.  Without knowing exactly what elements of pantomime were going to occur, the light bulb was immediately switched on as cross-dressing and audience participation was evident straight away! Not to mention the use of dance, songs, slapstick/physical comedy, Perth related humour as well as some sexual innuendo. All classic hallmarks of that illustrious genre – the panto.

Very little can be said for their take on Treasure Island as to not spoil its plot, however what I can comment on is the acting, singing, set and costuming. The acting was exceptional – albeit a bit over the top, and camp as a row of tents – but being that this is a pantomime it can definitely be forgiven. Going all-out makes it fun for some, funny for others, and cringe worthy for those who don’t know what to expect! The singing was a bit hit and miss, as quite often leads were either being overshadowed by the music, the supporting characters, and occasionally the audience. The set was excellent aside from a loose ship’s wheel – which was made fun of so often it left me wondering whether it was on purpose or was done on the fly to get a laugh – and the lighting was also exceptional. The costuming was definitely good to look at even if it was also over the top but again considering this is pantomime you can forgive its use of using a sharpie to draw a beard onto a lady.

Having seen many a take on Treasure Island in the past I can honestly say that whilst entertaining  as a pantomime, it unfortunately didn’t add anything to the story with the changes that were made to make it more comical. If you like pantomimes then give this show a look and even if you don’t your kids will – so please support the Murdoch Theatre Company by watching their take on the classic Treasure Island.

Review | Link Harris

WHEN: 5 – 7 July 2018 | 7:00pm

WHERE: Nexus Theatre | Murdoch University | Murdoch

INFO: Tickets $10 – $15 | Duration 120 mins | Suitable 12+ | COMEDY/MUSICAL




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