Let me start by letting you know about my journey of discovery for the musical soundtrack Treasure Island. When I first heard about it was a super excited as a musical all about a group of pirates (I guessed at this point) singing and dancing sounds something that I could love. Once I found the actual soundtrack on Spotify I was taken back by the choice of album cover artwork. The graphic they have chosen to use is simply a treasure chest and a bit of text which I understand is an obvious reference to the inclusion of pirates in this show but I believe there could have been an image that could have more accurately captured the ideas of adventures and sense of fun the musical possess. The musical itself is very accessible and is fun for the whole family so much so that I can envision many community theatre production companies planning to do this show. The cast of the show is a combination of younger and more mature performers which only adds to its attractiveness to theatre companies. The creative team behind this project (with vocals provided by splash dash theatre, the book was written by Chris O’Sullivan and lyrics from Janice de broithe) have made Treasure Island so that both adults and young people can either be apart of the show and/or enjoy it as an audience participant which is great. It insanely fun throughout the majority of the show (despite the occasional more dramatic song) and while listening to the tracks I was imagining a massive over-the-top pirate-inspired staging similar to ‘The Adventure of Sinbad’ in universal studios. As you can probably tell, this musical took me on a condones adventure and by the end of listening to the album, I loved it. I have never encountered a musical that grows so much you and despite being sceptical at first by the end was all in for this show!
Like I previously said the show is mostly fun and energetic which appeals to young members of the audience. The songs overall create a fantastic sense of fun and adventure that transcends the show and I imagine that is only exaggerated when performed live. The song titled “spyglass” was a very energetic song that to me was an unusual hybrid of ‘Master Of The House’ from Les Misseable and ‘Gaston’ from Beauty and the Beast. It’s a big ensemble number that has the whole cast performing which was fantastic to listen to. ‘Ready, Swab, Hoist” is the song that gave the younger cast members to showcase their talents as it was entirely sung by the younger people in the show. It’s a song all about setting up the boat ready for a potential adventure which creates every more fun and energy that people of all ages can enjoy. My favourite song from the entire show is the number titled “Land Ho” which to me sounded very much like a final number due to the sense of optimism it contains. This number showcases an incredible choir that is crammed full of talent. This choir supports, in the background, the soloist that are cleverly layered to create a melodic spectacular that is a feast for the ears but also the chose of instrumental accompaniment only adds to the sense of adventure in the show.
However, despite all the fun and energy, the show posses many emotional songs which move the listeners to tears. The song ‘Come Home’ is one of the first serious songs in the show but was very beautifully delivered by Lisa Quinlans. Lisa is a very talented performer and delivered this song excellently by conveying all the emotions flawlessly. The song is about wanting some to come back from the sea which ties together with the theme is the show and is very moving but from simply listening to the tracks in the album I did struggle to see how the show fits. I believe that if I ever get the chance to see this production live the song will make sense in the overall narrative but from just the playlist I did find it hard to draw the connection with this one and the rest. My other favourite song in this show was the song titled “Call Of The Sea” which was a moving duet of two excellent performers. Darren Somers is a very talented performer with a fantastic voice. Oisin O’Reilly (the other vocalist in this number) clashed flawlessly with Darren’s more mature voice. Osin contains a sense of naivety and immaturity whereas Darren has a serious and focussed voice which conflict in the most perfect way. What is weird about this song, in particular, is that while being very emotional this is also one of the most catchy songs I have listened to in a long, long time. This song also has a reprise later in the show but I did not enjoy as much as the original. While the vocals were still stunning to listen to but at the beginning of the song the performers were somewhat difficult to hear the lyrics. ‘Brave the Stockade’ is a very empowering song that encourages people to come together. To me, this number is very similar to Les Mis by having people come together and fight against a cause while also being very intense and powerful. The actual finale song in this musical is called “Free/let go of those ghosts” which is an insanely powerful ballad about being yourself. I didn’t expect a musical about pirates to have such an emotionally driven number to end the show about empowerment and self-acceptance. This was again supported by a brilliant choir who performed excellently and provided the accompaniment for the soloists. The solo performers were great although at times it was somewhat difficult to hear again.
Overall, Treasure Island is a mostly fun and energetic show that someone of any age can enjoy. It contains many insanely catchy songs but also some very emotional and tear-jerking moments that I imagine are only exaggerated in a live performance. I can see many community theatre companies wanting to do this show as it is so accessible and fun and I look forward to seeing how that plays out in the future. I would rate this show 4 out of 5 stars!