The life of a pirate is more than the perils of the sea, or the fear of the gallows; it’s filled with betrayal, greed and backstabbers. For dead men tell no tales and can’t reveal where the treasure lies. In Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic “Treasure Island” a young lad eager for adventure finds himself in the middle of a search for the buried treasure. There are good guys, bad guys and a bad guy who’s kinda good and even likable yet ruthless. The Cape Cod Theatre Company/Harwich Junior Theatre’s production captures your attention right from the beginning with a cleverly done introduction. So wiggle back in your seat, and enjoy the ride!
Young Jim Hawkins is fascinated with pirates and soon discovers there is one staying in the inn he and his mom run. Pirate Billy Bones has been discovered and is marked for death with a black spot but not before he tells Jim of a treasure map in his possession. Jim finds it and brings it to Squire Trelawney and Doctor Livesey. The three decide to secure a ship and search for the treasure. Of course, secrets are tough to keep, especially a juicy one, and soon others know what’s going on. Jim has found the adventure he’s always desired, and then some!
Director Rob Zapple is an expert at adventure tales and continues to weave his magic on this theater’s stage. Zapple and his wife-choreographer Michele have teamed up on many shows and this one is right in their wheelhouse. The show is action–packed with talented actors and a glorious set. James P. Byrne’s set transforms from the Admiral Benbow Inn to the HMS Hispaniola schooner and then to Treasure Island all with intricate details.
Jameson Zapple, Rob and Michele’s grandson, is a fabulous Jim Hawkins. Jameson captures the wide-eyed innocence and cunning of the character and relates well with the other characters. Jillian Annessi as Mrs. Hawkins is one of those characters. The striking performances of Seamus Sartin’s Billy Bones and Tess O’Leary’s Blind Pew, with Shiloh Pabst’s Black Dog and Steve Carter’s Dirk in the opening act set the tone of the production. By the time you meet Long John Silver (David C. Wallace) you’ve met pirates galore! Shiver me timbers, Wallace is one fine pirate!
The talented ensemble of pirates and sailors (C.J. Curtin, Katie Buckley, Nicholas Allegretto, Alice Murphy, Georgia Young, Charlotte Hunter, Trenton Hatch, Zane Bender, Ed Coppola along with Pabst, Sartin, O’Leary and Carter) board the ship and set sail with the Squire (Lou Maloof) and the Doctor (Bob Moore). Maloof is a joy to watch as he embraces the adventure, and Moore ably tries to maintain some sanity in the light of the craziness of it all. Kudos to Marianne Millette-Kelley’s costume design, especially on Silver’s parrot (Samantha Hatch). Rod Owens was a terrific Ben Gunn too.
Michele Zapple’s choreography works perfectly for the pirates and the sailors in the fight scenes and the impromptu jig. It always amazes how every inch of the stage is utilized so perfectly. The technical effects (sound, J Hagenbuckle; lighting, Byrne; tech director, Matt Kohler, assisted by Abby Feinstein) were spot-on and implemented by Ethan Dunford (sound board), Charlie Barrett (light board) with Lexy Hatch and Phoebe Davidson (back stage crew) completing the set transformation quickly and seamlessly. Producing artistic director Nina K. Schuessler can be proud of this one!
The show will captivate both young and old. Bring the entire family. (There is a commotion with pirates running through the audience at one point so if you think your child would be frightened by this, request a seat that’s not on the aisle.) The entire experience is about two hours if you stay for the meet and greet with the actors in costume after the show.
At Cape Cod Theatre Company/Harwich Junior Theatre, Division Street, West Harwich
Through Aug. 10, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at 7 p.m.; Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at 4 p.m.
Information and reservations: 508-432-2002, www.capecodtheatrecompany.org