Theatre ReviewsTom Williams

Treasure Island at Lifeline Theatre

By Robert Louis Stevenson

Adapted for the stage by John Hildreth

Treasure Island
Treasure Island

Directed by Robert Kauzlaric

At Lifeline Theatre

Action packed swashbuckler of classic pirate/treasure story come to life on stage

No theatre I know of can adapt and mount finer stage adaptations of novels than the creative folks at Lifeline Theatre. Their body of work over the years makes them a premiere theatre troupe in the non-Equity world of Chicago theatre.  Their latest, Treasure Island, adapted by John Hildreth from Robert Louis Stevenson’s 1881 novel, is another amazing, eye-popping  production. under Robert Kauzlaric’s innovative staging, the tale come to life in rich detail. true to Stevenson’s novel.

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Alan Donahue’s amazing set depicts a 18th Century schooner, Branimira Ivanova’s costumes, both pirate and officers, were period perfect, and Phil Timberlake has the cast sporting a range of authentic British accents that runs from Cockney to Scottish to high British. I particularly enjoyed the macho pirate speak filled with Stevenson’s colorful language: “Shiver me timbers, laddie!”

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This action-packed swashbuckler deals with the struggles to find buried treasure from a map discovered in a dead pirates sea-chest. Young Jim Hawkins (nice work from Warren Weber who sports a fine accent) tells his story of adventure on the high seas. Jim plays a pivotal part in this story as he thwarts Long John Silver (the terrific Sean Sinitski) and the pirates in their quest to steal the treasure form Dr. Livsey (Patrick Blashill) and Captain Smollett (Robert McLean).

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Treasure Island is about  seamen, mutineers and treasure hunters each determined to get wealthy from the buried gold.  Heroism, personal integrity and a boy’s actions are present in this classic legendary tale. Filled with wild sword and knife fights as well as gun fire, the battle for control leads to a fast paced, often humorous, tale.  Sean Sinitski’s Long John Silver is the charismatic one-legged pirate filled with cunning whose sense of honor garners his survival. Robert McLean and young Warren Weber effectively lead the good-guys through the wild adventure.

This flawless production will hook you instantly and thrill you throughout. I can’t think of a finer show to introduce  your kids (ten and above) to the magic of live stage shows.  The action is swift, the story has a moral and characters are rich and colorful. They’ll relate to young Weber’s Jim Hawkins.

Highly Recommended

Tom Williams

Jeff Recommended

At Lifeline Theatre, 6912 N. Glenwood Ave., Chicago, IL, call 773-761-4477, tickets $30, $25 seniors, $15 students, $10 industry, Thursdays & Fridays at 7:30 pm, Saturdays at 4 & 8 pm, Sundays at 4 pm, running time is 2 hours, 25 minutes with intermission.

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