Thursday, October 29, 2015

Review of Treasure Island at Lookingglass Theatre Company

Once upon a time I went to a show and it was called Treasure Island. It was adapted and directed by Mary Zimmerman from the book by Robert Louis Stevenson. It was about a boy named Jim Hawkins (John Babbo) who works in a pub with his mother (Kasey Foster) and one day a man named Billy Bones (Christopher Donahue) came in and was drinking a lot at the pub. And then a man named Black Dog (Steve Pickering) came around and wanted to kill Billy Bones to get to the treasure map to find Captain Flint's Treasure. But Jim ends up with the map, and he is going to find treasure with Squire Trelawny (Matt DeCaro), his butler Redruth (Donahue), and Dr. Livesey (Andrew White) and their captain, Captain Smollett (Philip R. Smith). But then there are these pirates who board the ship as crew members and they plan to sabotage everyone. There is one pirate named Long John Silver (Lawrence E. DiStasi), who is their cook, but sadly he doesn't turn out very well even though he seemed like a really nice guy. It is about bravery, pirates, and doing the right thing. This was a really fun show. There were so many great elements to it--like the music, set and costumes, the acting, and all the memorable moments. I loved it!

The vibe of the show was very very fun and exciting. I felt like they stayed very true to the book and didn't add in a lot of things that weren't needed. I really liked the music (composed by Andrew Pluess, played by Greg Hirte, Foster, L.J. Slavin, and Matthew C. Yee). It was very pirate-y and very catchy and I am still singing the songs. The set (designed by Todd Rosenthal) looked like a huge boat and it could rock back and forth, which was very cool. And it worked just as well for all the different places because they would decorate the set with vines when it was the jungle and bring down a sign and set up some tables when it was the pub. And I thought it was cool how they made it work for all the different places and I loved the set. The costumes (by Ana Kuzmanic) were so authentic and real-life looking. They really drew me into the story. Class was very important because some people had holes in their stockings, like Black Dog, and some people were wearing sails, like Ben Gunn (Pickering), and some people had frilly pink outfits, like the Squire. But even the Squire didn't maintain his fancy clothes the entire time because they were looking for treasure in the jungle. You probably shouldn't wear that fancy outfit out there anyway, but it showed you that he thought it wasn't going to be that bad.

Redruth was maybe my favorite character because he had a very refined air about him, but then he was going on a pirate journey. He always has his nose in the air and he has one of the most refined British accents. He is doing such a ridiculous thing (going to sea) because his master told him to. That is what a butler is supposed to do: take care of his master no matter what. And that also shows that he is very courageous. I liked that he still maintains his dignity throughout the trip. Captain Smollett was a really fun character. He was very serious about everything he did, even when it was completely ridiculous. And a lot of his scenes were hilarious. I also liked how at the beginning he had the right idea about the crew (Travis Delgado, Foster, Anthony Irons, Ariel Shafir, and Yee) the entire time. And the Squire and the Doctor were like, "Oh how can you think that?" The Squire and the Doctor were also hilarious. Long John Silver was a very serious and scary character. He was scary because even though he only had one leg, he was very threatening and it seemed like if he wanted you dead you could be dead in a few minutes. He seemed to only care about himself, which is basically true. But he did have some redeeming by the end because he didn't want to hurt Jim. Another one of my favorite characters was Ben Gunn who was stranded on an island by his pirate buddies and when Jim's ship comes, he finally gets to see humanity again. And one of my favorite parts of the show is when he is reunited with his one true love: cheese. He is just so happy to see cheese again and it is just so funny and I love it so much. I would definitely go see this show again just for that moment. But luckily there were other great moments as well.

One of my favorite funny moments was when they were running away from the pirates but it was all in slow motion and so hilarious. That is one of the reasons I love the Captain so much because this scene showcases how dramatic and still-doing-his-job he is and it made me laugh so hard. I loved it. My favorite touching moment was when Jim was about to set out on his journey and his mom was so sad because she wasn't going to see him for a while and she didn't want him to be in danger. It was touching because his mom seemed kind of mad at him that he was going but you could tell that she was just sad. Another thing I really liked was when the pirates would attack the other sailors they would climb down from the top of the stage like from the crow's nest, but really the catwalk above the stage. I also really liked it when there were supposedly canon balls coming onto the stage but they were really heavy black bean bags. And that was super funny and creative.

People who would like this show are people who like treasure maps, slo-mo running, and cheese. I think people should definitely go see this show. I love all the shows I've seen at Lookingglass and this was no exception. I loved it!
Photos: Liz Lauren

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