Monday, 20 January 2014

Kidnapped

Beacon Arts Centre, Greenock
Four stars
There's something irresistibly invigorating about Robert Louis 
Stevenson's historical  romp, first  published in 1886. Dressing it up 
as a Boys Own style adventure was a master-stroke, and by putting young 
David Balfour in the thick of a plot that involves political intrigue, 
Jacobite rebellion and considerable macho swagger, Stevenson created 
something akin to a Look and Learn of its day that has captured the 
imaginations of would-be Davie's ever since.

The ambitious Sell A Door company take the book's spirit and run with 
it in Anna Fox's big, bold production of Ivan Wilkinson's new stage 
version, which opened its extensive tour last week. There's already 
something of a commotion onstage as the audience enter to the cast 
belting out a song on fiddle, guitar and pounding percussion as if they 
were a punk-folk ceilidh combo in full pelt. This is just a 
curtain-raiser, however, to allows the older Davie to spin a yarn about 
his colourful past to entertain his guests.

As Stewart McCheyne's young Davie sets off on what turns out to be the 
ultimate rites of passage, the rest of the multi-tasking cast of five 
unveil a world which,no matter how far Davie roams, is forever defined 
by the giant  map of Scotland that hangs in a frame at the back of the 
stage. It's a fast-moving ride, with puppetry, music and stylised 
movement played out on a set where walls become a ship in an instant. 
Balfour and Simon Weir's Alan Breck, who struts the stage as cocksure 
as a young Iain Cuthbertson, form a swashbuckling dynamic duo in a 
complex tale of loyalties that go beyond politics to something deeper.

The Herald, January 20th 2014

ends

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