Harwich, UK

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reviews

“I was looking for a great quality musical for Year 5 and 6 pupils to perform and I found it! A really great and witty script that stayed (mainly) faithful to the book, which was important to me. We did two performances and it was extremely well received. I consider it to be the best production our school has done in the seven years I have been doing them!

One of the beauties of this play was the flexibility in cast size. I had many interested applicants and ended up with a willing cast of 47 ten and eleven year old boys and girls! Costuming was simple too, after finding some teachers to make three or four special coats for the Squire, Arrow, and Silver the rest was easily collected by the children themselves. Songs were so catchy that they almost learnt themselves – such a relief to hear good quality songs for children rather than some of the dirge I have sampled in my efforts to find the next production!

Also worth a mention is the quality of the backing tracks and the incidental music and sound effects. I shall probably be looking to Kingsbury Creations for inspiration same time next year! Thank you.”

Martin Glancy

Hampton Primary School, Herne Bay

“We performed Treasure Island last year with a cast of 12-14 year old boys and girls and it was a smash!  The songs are catchy and easily-learned; the sets are simple and there’s plenty for everyone to do (essential when you have a large chorus and you don’t want them hanging around backstage!). Great show!  Audiences loved it and the kids had a ball!”

L Curtin
Dublin

“I produced this musical last summer and it was a tremendous success.  We had 90 11 year old children involved. They loved the music and enjoyed the whole pirate thing. Highly recommended!!”
P Gilsenan

St. Dallan’s Primary School, Warrenpoint, Co. Down

“Hi! We did the show in Flixton. It was a great hit!  There were full seats every night!!!!”
Welacre Technology College

“Me and my class have been doing treasure island as our end of term production and i think it is great. The music is fantastic and the characters are excellent. I am playing the silly squire trelawny and i am having so much fun. My teacher is helping us do our production and he says that treasure island is the best ever. I won’t say to much more but i really really think treasure island is fab!”
Rachel Stevenson
Pupil, Buckinghamshire

“A fantastic musical for students of all ages. My students enjoyed every minute of it as did me and my team. Toe tapping songs which your audiences will be humming and singing for days after watching the show. Plenty of scope for small or large casts with a range of characters to suit all abilities. Simple to stage and costume, comprehensive and clear stage directions.

Appeals to audiences of all ages, aimed at the younger age range but contains humour which will capture adults. Clear story line, easy to follow and understand.
I would definitely recommend it to any one planning on doing a musical with young children, it has pace, humour, catchy songs and is written in such a way that your audience is mesmerised.”
L Herbert
Drama Teacher, Suffolk

“Treasure Island is a musical with memorable, toe-tapping tunes and individual, well defined characters. From a choreographer’s point of view, the rhythms and melodies were easy to work with, and covered a variety of different styles. It is a high energy version of the traditional story, which, I believe, could be used by both schools and adult groups. Obviously different things would be drawn out of the production depending on the age of the participants, but the characters lend themselves to a broad spectrum of ages.”

“Reflecting on this production, both cast and audience had a great time due to the energy and enthusiasm of all involved. In many respects it was an easy show to stage as the script was accessible (straight forward for children to learn) and gave a clear, non-confusing, linear story line – very important for children. I would thoroughly recommend this production for any school or community group. It has a terrific mixture of comedy and drama and would be well received by any audience!”
C Shaw
Drama and Dance Teacher, Essex

“Brilliant! it is a spectacular play. I love it. We are doing it 4 our leavers play at school. I am Long John Silver!!  Ay,Ay!”
Rebecca
Pupil, Lancashire

“It isn’t always easy to find a suitable musical production for older primary and secondary age children. However, with this wonderful, lively romp through Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic tale, talented young composer, Stephen Kingsbury has used all his experience as a secondary school teacher to come up with a really successful musical to be performed by young people.

The production opens with a really lively chorus number and this sets the precedent for the whole play. It is full of bright, sparky songs for chorus as well as more atmospheric, challenging pieces for more experienced singers.

The cast list also is very cleverly devised to give opportunities for the whole range of ages and abilities: the chorus could easily be as large or as small as your school’s needs; a couple of smaller chorus groupings such as the ghost pirates and Ben Gunn’s bevy of beauties are nicely worked to enable your better chorus members greater scope to shine; there are several really meaty cameo roles for character actors to get their teeth into; and, of course, a couple of decent sized lead roles. Very pleasing also for an in-school director is that most, if not all roles could be played equally well by boys or girls. In the production I saw, the role of Jim Hawkins was played extremely well by a girl, and certainly girls make excellent pirates!

The libretto is amusing and carefully scripted to give nice speaking parts to as many as want them.

Costuming a school production can be a costly and time consuming business but for this musical it all seems beautifully straightforward; large numbers of pirates in striped tops and headscarves, jaunty cut-off jeans and few peg-legs thrown in for good measure. The scenery and set are a delight from this point of view, too. The reviewer saw a couple of brightly painted backdrops and minimal setting and props. but with sufficient resources you could just as well go all out for replica ships and real sand!

I can’t complete this review without making note of a couple of my favourite songs. Kingsbury has managed to marry together an eclectic group of musical styles rather reminiscent of Lloyd Webber and Rice’s Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat. The pirate’s fantastically greedy “We’re Gonna be Rich!” is an unashamedly toe-tapping number – the kind you could be humming for days. Black Dog’s “I Wanna Go Home” had the audience giggling audibly and the quite wonderful “Cheese Song” sung by Ben Gunn and his gorgeous female entourage is pure Noel Coward and was, for me, the highlight of the show. The spookily haunting song of the ghost pirates changed the tone very effectively and the production ends, as of course it should, with a fabulous feel-good, roof- raising chorus number.

As the applause rang out in the packed hall the reviewer witnessed smiles all round, both from cast and audience, the age range of the latter being between 18 months and eighty!

All in all, this is a thoroughly satisfying musical, which captures the imagination from start to finish with a wonderful mix of song styles and witty dialogue. As a drama teacher, the real beauty of this new work lies in its flexibility and accessibility; it is capable of encompassing the whole spectrum of talent in a school and is generous in its role allocation. Treasure Island! is an ideal choice for a school production affording wonderful opportunities for cast and a very enjoyable evening for any audience. Yoho! Ahoy me maties!”
E Sherman
Drama Teacher, West Lothian

“The world premiere of Mr Kingsbury’s musical ‘Treasure Island!’ was performed on Wednesday 9th July, 2003 at Tendring Technology College. The production has been written over the past year and includes a superb variety of music, dance and dialogue, including such numbers as ‘ Up the Jolly Roger’, ‘Fifteen Men’, ‘I Wanna Go Home’ and ‘We’re on our Way’.

The production has been carefully put together to be a wonderful mix with light-hearted entertainment and a clear message summed up in the closing number ‘At the end of the rainbow, there’s treasure to be found…the treasure is a friend who’s near’.

One of the strengths of the show is the amount of chorus numbers that allow many of the cast to be on the stage at once. All of these pieces were wonderfully choreographed, especially the Treasure Dance which involved some very strange instructions for a pirate crew to follow! Also included in the music is the wonderfully ‘cheesy’ ‘I’d Rather Have a Lump of Cheese’, the lilting melody of ‘ Island Paradise’, and the ghostly ‘Six Poor Souls’.

The script contains a delightfully balanced mix of fast action, sidesplitting humour and carefully written dialogue that remains true to the essence of the original Robert Louis Stephenson novel.  The plot includes all the familiar characters and a few new ones that help to keep the story fresh and exciting.
P Kirkman
Music Teacher, Lancashire