Joanna Carrick’s adaptation of Treasure Island at The Avenue Theatre, Ipswich has an interesting opening – the house lights going up rather than down. To explain further would spoil the introduction, should you be planning to head for this Red Rose Chain Production.
This show is an alternative to traditional panto, recognising that not everyone is enamoured of big blousey dames, bad puns and silly songs. There is a nod to the genre however with some mild audience participation and throwing of cannon balls. Oh, and one perfectly aimed football – nice one Charlie!
The tale of Treasure Island, the adventures of Jim Hawkins and his coming of age, is a complex one involving a myriad of different characters. That the story telling was achieved with just three actors was ambitious and obviously exhausting for those involved. The show is played out at a furious pace, you can easily lose the plot should you become distracted – as I did when Joel Macey did a beautifully timed face plant in the sand and seemed to be buried for an awfully long time.
Claire Lloyd (that nice young lady from the accounts department) jumped in and out of her various characters with ease and Ryan Penny, when not tripping over his vacuum cleaner, need not have worried about costume changes, his changing facial expressions leaving us in no doubt of who he was playing at any given moment.
All three of those involved are to be admired for having the energy to sing and dance their final energetic number before the house lights came back up – for real this time.
This show proves that the existence of an alternative to the traditional Christmas Panto is alive and well in Ipswich.
Treasure Island plays at The Avenue Theatre, Gippeswyk Avenue, Ipswich until 2nd January
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