Yo ho! It’s a pirate’s life at STC. Sacramento Theater Company’s season opener Treasure Island is rated arr!—for the robust performances and a rollicking good time aimed at scallywags of all ages.
This production of Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic brings to life all the beloved pirate images and characters, with swashbuckling sword fights, secret X-marks-the-spot maps, peg legs, sea chests, parrots, buried treasures, drunken sops and noble heroes.
STC recreates a pirates’ world from the moment you enter the theater, with impressive pirate statues, dramatic pirate music and the sounds of creaking ships and whipping winds.
Narrating the tale is the character of Jim Hawkins, who lets us experience the adventure through the eyes of a young teen, pulling in younger members of the audience with his pirate stories. But this is not a children’s production; it’s a full-blown dramatic coming-of-age story that captures the hearts of landlubbers of all ages.
At the opening matinee, young Jim was perfectly portrayed by Anna Miles (rotating the role with Will Block), who gave a remarkable, fully believable performance of a wide-eyed youth having the adventure of a lifetime. Two other standout performances that shivered timbers were Michael Stevenson as the evil yet endearing Capt. Long John Silver and R.J. Campbell as the mysterious ne’er-do-well Billy Bones. The rest of the cast is just as strong, with every single one of the actors looking like they are having the time of their lives.
The set is simple yet effective in portraying an English pub, a sailing schooner and an exotic island, though most is imagined through the narration. And the colorful costumes are pirate picture-perfect.
During the play, watching the audience is just as fun as the action onstage—with some kids (and adults) arriving in pirate garb, all brave, until the first bad guy creeps along. And later, when a band of pirates tear through the rows—you’ve never seen wider eyes in your life.