Shiver me timbers! Salty old sea dogs are showing new crew members the ropes in a panto which lives up to its name of Treasure Island.
Cracking comedy and colourful characterisation from experienced old-timers and eager newcomers are flagged up in a lively production by Bolsover Drama Group.
Bumbling buccaneers, curvy Cornish women and dainty dancers sparkle on stage at Bolsover School like jewels in Captain Flint’s treasure chest.
Alan Frayn’s script is peppered with pirate jokes aplenty - ooh arrrgh, yes it is - and local references make the show Bolsover’s very own panto.
Much of the laughs are created by Nicky Constable and Louise Sutton who work their magic as pirates Blind Ali and Sea Snake Sally.
Ray Hall, making his panto dame debut, plays up to the audience well, reminding spectators to keep up with the Avast Behind catchphrase which greets his appearances as Rosie Bloom.
Playing Rosie’s son, JIm Hawkins - he of Ooh, arrrgh Jim lad fame, Dale Shaw heads the cast and does so in a confident manner interacting well with cast members and spectators. His Bushtucker Trial-style scene aboard ship is one of the funniest in the show as is a tongue-twisting sketch with the dame in which all the words begin with P. Dale’s real-life fiancee, Michelle Simpson, playing Barmy Beth, continues the alliterative theme in the second half, with her cheese-loving character’s choice cuts.
In the role of one-legged Long John Silver, Derrick Hulett hobbles around stage on a steel bar attached to his shoe. He looks like he’s channelling Johnny Depp’s Captain Jack Sparrow with a fabulous pirate’s outfit and gold earrings aplenty.
Performances by a string of newcomers including Kathryn Richardson, playing JIm’s pretty girlfriend Penny, and Tara Madeley as Cut Throat Kate, the pirate afraid of blood, augur well for the future of the company.
High spots of the show include a hornpipe and tribal dance performed by youth section members, looking cute in pirate outfits and grass skirts, while a powerful and moving version of Take That’s Greatest Day is the stand-out song.
Forgotten lines were an issue at the performance last night (Wednesday) but didn’t detract too much from the overall enjoyment.
Heavy snowfalls scuppered Monday’s vital dress rehearsal, but it’s made the cast work that much harder to put on a gem of a show.
Treasure Island, directed by Mick Whitehouse and Leanne Whitehouse, produced by Wendy Blunt and with musical direction by Nigel Turner, is running until Saturday, January 26.