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Stormy seas, skulduggery and pirates threaten young adventurers

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: December 13, 2013

By Treasure Island

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REVIEW

Exeter Phoenix

Jibooms and bobstays! With a washing-line foresail and a sturdy garden shed for a boat you'll leave Topsham on the morning tide, bound for foreign shores and exciting adventures. There's stormy seas ahead and wicked skulduggery afoot.

Basing their story around the classic Robert Louis Stevenson adventure, three actors transport young audiences across the seas to seek hidden treasure. Directed by Andy Brodie, Quirk Theatre captivates, enthrals and enthuses youngsters in this neat re-invention. Actors Simon Hall, Ben Simpson and Marie Kelsall become a host of characters. Jess and Jim play happily, while eyeing-up the apples in Mr Jenks' next-door garden. But when he catches them, the fun begins as he spins a salty yarn about pirates and a desert island.

The set becomes the deck of the good ship Hispaniola as Squire Trelawney sets sail. Dubious Captain Silver, "wooden leg" encased in an old coal-scuttle, commands the moth-eaten and multifarious crew with only an ancient map to guide them.

Episodic in performance, swift scene changes are underpinned by lively music. No matter if characters get somewhat confusing, the adventure – complete with blagardly Blind Pugh, cut-throat Kevin and mad marooned Ben Gunn (who is passionately fond of cheese!) – totally grips young imaginations. With brief appearances from a parrot, two gibbering baboons and some cannibals, dramatically threatened by Silver, and facing the loss of his treasured compass, cabin-boy Jim escapes into the jungle. Yet even pirates have a heart. Sails furled and loose-ends neatly tied, Jess and Jim play in the garden, but with a new and wary regard for neighbour Mr Jenks.

ANNE BROOM

The show runs until January 4.

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