Saturday, May 31, 2008

Treasure Island

One of the highlights of the 2008 Town and Olive Festival was Patchwork Theatre’s Treasure Island. The opening night took place at the Jans Rautenbach Schouwburg where a large audience obviously enjoyed the show and joined in whole-heartedly with the sea shanty: ‘Fifteen men on a dead man’s chest ’.

The cast was made up of children aged nine to fifteen, apart from a young Sotho woman of 21, so it was only natural that several of them had an attack of nerves that night and forgot their words, but the audience were kind and accepted this as part of the entertainment.

The three first-time actors are to be congratulated and the crowd loved O’Brien. Christopher Mullins as “Hands” gave a memorable performance – in fact all the pirates played their parts to the full - and three died superbly.

The main character, Long John Silver, was played by Joshua Swanepoel, who put great expression into his role as both a cut-throat pirate and a lonely sailor, although he could have better portrayed his relationship with Jim and he should try to loosen up on stage. He knew how to captivate his audience and stir their emotions, without dominating other characters. Yet he was unfamiliar with the script and made the mistake of showing his frustration to the audience.

Melissa Haarhof as Squire Trelawney, was very good. The actress portrayed him as a rather haughty, inconsiderate man, but nonetheless brave when it came to the crunch. However she spoke too quickly, which was a bit of a let down because her part is one of the most important.

Caleb Swanepoel as Jim Hawkins performed well, because he knew his script, and could therefore act more freely. However he did not understand his character as well as Joshua did, struggling to convey feeling in his poems.

Scene changes were done smoothly. After hitches with the sound effects at the theatre, things improved at the hall. Congratulations to Matthew van Heerden whose lighting was very good, considering that it consisted of three bed lamps, one with a flood lamp globe attached.

A lantern, dimly illuminating the inn sign, added to the atmosphere. At most times the actor’s faces were clearly visible, except when shadows were needed for effect. Many thanks to Gudrun Toelstede and Alex Barnato for the wonderful costumes and highly appropriate props.

All agree that Patchwork Theatre has done us proud again!

Well done Tracy Swanepoel for another outstanding evening’s entertainment.

Albert College Foundation Level pupils

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