Treasure Island's Too Calm Seas

Swashbuckling Fort Greene
Ken Howard

There’s a bountiful array of artistic riches to be found in the Irondale Center’s Treasure Island, including Tom Hewitt’s witty, carefully layered portrayal of wily Long John Silver. In addition, Noah E. Galvin gives a sweetly unassuming turn as plucky Jim Hawkins, the boy who goes on the adventure of a lifetime after he comes into possession of a map pointing toward a pirate’s trove of hidden booty.

Jim’s journey between shore and sea is made palpable thanks not only to a quartet of roughly planked rolling platforms from scenic designer Tony Straiges, but also Stewart Wagner’s atmospheric lighting and Will Pickens’s evocative soundscape. And co-adaptor /director B.H. Barry has devised some invigorating fight choreography.

Alas, all these theatrical assets are often submerged, like Davy Jones’s locker, by a play that brings Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic to the stage without any sustained dramatic tension. Further, Barry’s use of sea shanties to punctuate scenes—and extended sequences depicting the business of maneuvering a ship—stalls what’s already a problematic script. The show, which could thrill as swashbuckling adventure or touch with its tale of Silver and Jim’s unlikely friendship, is merely a frustrating, tempest-tossed venture.

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