Botanic Gardens - Weather Station Lawn, Christchurch

29/01/2020 - 16/02/2020

Production Details

Rollicking Entertainment presents a hilarious re-telling of the ultimate pirate adventure. Escape the landlubber life and plunge into a world of buccaneers, buried gold, treasure maps, treacherous waters and a mild dose of scurvy.

Amazing fights. Live sound effects. Ridiculous dancing…

Set sail for adventure in the gardens this summer!

Weather Station Lawn, The Botanic Gardens, Christchurch
29 Jan 29 to 16 Feb 2020
6:30pm Wednesday to Sunday
Matinees 1:30pm Saturday and Sunday
BYO picnic rug or seat

Geoff Gilson:  Blind Pugh/Ben Gunn/Ensemble
Phoebe Hurst:  Long Joan Silver/Meg/Ensemble
David Ladderman:  Narrator/Rusty Nails/Ensemble
Darlene Mohekey:  Captain Smollett/Billy Bones/Ensemble
Trubie-Dylan Smith:  Jim Hawkins/Captain Flint

Directed by Lizzie Tollemache
Set and Props by Nick Lowry
Production Manager Mandy Perry
Technical Operator Oliver Buckley 
All other production elements created by the ensemble

Theatre , Outdoor , Family ,

1 hr 40 min (incl. interval)

Impossible not to like

Review by Christopher Moore 30th Jan 2020

The Anthony Harper Summer Theatre’s 2020 season has weighed anchor and set sail carrying a suitably swashbuckling production of Treasure Island.

Purists be warned. Apart from familiar characters and settings, not much of Robert Louis Stevenson’s original book surfaces in Rollicking Entertainment’s bouncy open-air adaptation directed by Lizzie Tollemache.

It channels Johnny Depp and Monty Python rather more than RLS. But this is all good, rumbustious fun and the younger members of the audience on first night seemed to love it all. [More


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The joy of being ridiculous celebrated with real flair

Review by Lindsay Clark 30th Jan 2020

Serene summer evenings and picnics in the Christchurch Botanic Gardens may seem a rollick too far for this classic adventure, packed full of pirates and peril, but the company on the good ship Hispaniola makes the leap with accomplished ease. Their means involve a fast-paced, clever script, excellent rapport with their family audience and above all assured comedy playing from physically and vocally strong actors. 

Director Lizzie Tollemache and her team create an event overflowing with good humour and colour, never taking seriously the darker elements of the Stevenson story. Appropriately for the occasion, there is no time for suspense or terror to surface. Instead we have engaging narration, entertaining sound effects and hilarious characterisation relishing every twist of the tale.

A cosy tavern is always a good place to start an adventure tale, especially when it involves the bequest of a treasure map with an X marking the spot. Young Jim Hawkins is given it by old seadog Billy Bones, on the run from his erstwhile shipmates under ruthless Captain Flint. Jim and his mother just make ends meet at the Admiral Benbow Inn, so a trip to find the treasure makes good sense. Enter Long Joan Silver and her piratical buddies posing as crew for upper crust Captain Smollett of the Hispaniola.

The hunt that follows, takes us all the way to Lyttelton and of course involves the wonderful complication of Ben Gunn. Thus all the high points of the tale are covered, embellished by hearty songs we all know and wildly athletic dances we would not be able to do. There are acrobatic circus skills galore on offer, a favourite being a skipping challenge and a shovel fight. Somehow it all fits into the treasure hunt with comedic pizazz. 

The five actors do everything, working with indefatigable energy on Nick Lowry’s ship set, which comes with a mast for scaling and numerous useful pieces that become whatever is needed in the story.

As an ensemble, the five cover and create the sort of joyful spontaneity that relies in fact on careful choreography and much practice. Each has at least one major character to present apart from the ongoing business. Thus Geoff Gibson plays pirate Blind Pugh as well as Ben Gunn, Phoebe Hurst nails Meg (Jim’s mother) as well as Long Joan Silver, David Ladderman is both Narrator and pirate Rusty Nails, Darlene Mohekey gives us Captain Smollett as well as Billy Bones and Trubie-Dylan Smith plays Jim Hawkins as well as Captain Flint.

It all adds up to splendid entertainment, celebrating outdoor theatre (thanks to Anthony Harper) and the joy of being ridiculous, with real flair.


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