Treasure Island— 13 & 20 January 2024 in Headley Village Hall

The Poster – Programme outside & CastProgramme insideBackstage photo gallery Report
Note: No Friday performances this year

Photos taken at the Dress Rehearsal on Thurs 11th January (by Angus & Penny McKay)

Act 1

Billy Bones (Rod Sharp) arrives in the hall …

… and befriends the local children

On stage, the locals are making merry in the 'Admiral Bush'

Seadog Sam (Karine Farnlucher) and Seaweed Willy (Annaleise Farnlucher) find Billy Bones there and demand he returns their map.

He refuses to hand it over, so they give him The Black Spot – and he dies

Mrs Hawkins (Rufus Kendall) is proprietor of the 'Admiral Bush', seen here with her son Jim (Summer Wareham)

They decide to look inside Billy Bones' chest – and find many things, including a pirate radio …
but eventually they find the map of Treasure Island which the pirates are after

Squire Trelawney (Martin Wellen) calls by for the rent, but is happy to accept a bit of spotted dick instead, and ends up with his daughter Jenny (Eryn Johnson, right) judging the Annual Cake Baking competition at the local WI (whose members look suspiciously like the regulars at the 'Admiral Bush'!)

Of course, 'Jerusalem' has to be sung …

… and the local kids are back to pick at the cakes

The Pirates (L to R: Will Nash, Gavin Rasburn, Neil Hardings, Lee Carter) raid the WI meeting dressed as ladies.

And the session ends up with a cake-making demonstration which turns messy!

Polly the Parrot (Dil Williamson-Smith) is fed up with waiting around for Long John Silver to find the map

Sam & Willy are at Portsmouth docks waiting for a crew to man the Squire's ship, the 'Hispaniola'

The ladies of the WI turn up dressed as pirates – they'll do!

Everyone gets very enthusiastic (especially Lee), and off they all go to Treasure Island at the end of Act 1

Act 2

After the interval, the Squire says they're in sight of their destination

But – shock, horror – the pirates take over the ship …

… and the Squire, Jenny, Jack and Mrs Hawkins are set adrift in a small boat – just as a hurricane strikes

They all make it to the island, and eventually come across Ben Gunn, a strange old man (Jo Smith) who tells them the treasure is in a haunted cave

… who venture into the cave and find ghoulies in UV light …

… who venture into the cave and find ghoulies in UV light …

… and ghosties in less UV light …

… but then, also, the Treasure!

Then the Pirates turn up and want it all.

But the ladiies of the WI are revolting, and decide to stop being pirates –
they have the Black Spot, and threated the real pirates with it unless they promise to be good …

… and be nice to parrots!

Ben Gunn tells them he'll take their photo … WI calendars are his speciality!

… and, Flash, Bang, Wallop – there we are, ready for the finale

But first, Captain Bloodheart (Nick Webb) appears to lead a community song about being a pirate

Then it's everyone on stage for a final 'Celebration' – and Ben Gunn gets a photo of the audience!

Pictures of the Audiences, by on-stage photographer Ben Gunn

13th January, matinée

13th January, evening

20th January, matinée

20th January, evening

Write-up by Cavan Syrad

Headley Theatre Club's Pru Harold achieved a long-held ambition on Saturday, 13th January, when her production of Treasure Island was premiered in a virtually sold out Headley Village Hall.
Under Pru's direction the large cast, featuring many newcomers to the club, took Ben Crocker's imaginative and modern script and, due to the excellent casting, made it their own.

A traditional panto script takes a familiar story and injects it with twists, turns and surprises, and this version of Treasure Island did not disappoint in that respect. It featured, of all things, a meeting between a group of ladies from the local WI and Long John Silver and his pirate cronies at a cake baking competition, and this bizarre event produces a recipe for an hilarious and action-packed adventure.

At the heart of this 'Treasure Island' is a classic panto tale featuring a recently widowed Mum who owes rent to her landlord; her son who is desperate to seek his fortune and, once achieved, marry a local girl from a higher social status. In this particular case, the riches he seeks are to be found by following a map to Treasure Island, but a bunch of unscrupulous baddies, led by Long John Silver and his weird and wonderful pirate crew are determined to beat him to it.

The opening chorus number in the Admiral Benbow tavern features the local townsfolk, along with the dame Mum Hawkins (Rufus Kendall) , her son Jim (Summer Wareham) entertaining us with a boozed-up a capella rendition of 'What Shall We Do with the Drunken Sailor'.
All the while the old sea-farer Billy Bones (Rod Sharp) is sitting nervously on his tea chest guarding the treasure map that is being sought by Silver and his crew. When Squire Trelawney (Martin Wellen) turns up for the rent, accompanied by his daughter Jenny (Eryn Johnson), he is easily distracted by the promise of a large portion of Mum Hawkins's famous Spotted Dick and custard!
Of course Jim and Jenny are instantly attracted to each other and are then set to provide the romantic element to the show. The Squire is due to judge a cake-baking competition for the local Smugglers' Cove WI and this event, combined with the fact that by this time Mum Hawkins has the treasure map stuffed down her ample bosom, provides the catalyst for some merry japes.

The arrival on stage of the pirates Long John Silver (Will Nash), Blood Boiler ( Neil Hardinge), Gizzard Slitter ( an impressive Lee Carter) and The Fridge (Gavin Rasburn) gave the show just the lift it needed at this point. Their costumes were fabulous – thanks to Dil Williamson-Smith – and the pirates' ensemble playing was deliciously over-the-top and extremely comical.

Dil has done a fine job with the costumes throughout this production and none more so than with her own glitzy and outlandish get-up for her role as Polly the veteran parrot. As a running gag, she kept demanding to sit on Long John Silver's shoulder, which, had she done so, would have been a definite show-stopper!

The mother and daughter double act of Karina Farnlucher (Seadog Sam) and Annaliese Farnlucher (Seaweed Willy) provided lots of fun with their antics. Karina did a great job rehearsing the juniors, who were all marvellous as village children, pirates, ghosts and zombies. The spooky UV cave scene was very effective.

The ladies of the WI, fronted by their no-nonsense leader Mrs Henderson (Sarah Horne), all worked well together and clearly enjoyed their roles – particularly when they got the chance to engage in some cross-dressing and became honorary pirates. According to one of the ladies,'We always play goodies in the chorus, it's great to be bad for a change!'

Jo Smith (Ben Gunn) and Nick Webb (Captain Bloodheart) had to wait until close to the end for their big moments, but when they came Jo, complete with an impressively long and shiny beard, made a very convincing marooned photographer, and Nick (Captain Bloodheart) led the audience in an amusing community song, ably assisted by some of the juniors.

A pantomime script has to be chosen carefully. It needs to be laugh-ou-loud funny; it needs to include plenty of audience participation; it needs to be colourful and traditional, yet have a modern feel with a few surprises along the way.

This is exactly what the script for 'Treasure Island' by Ben Crocker provided, and Pru Harold and the members of Headley Theatre Club are to be congratulated for bringing his script to life and providing a wonderful evening of madcap entertainment.

As if directing the show wasn't enough, the multi-talented Pru Harold also baked a batch of delicious ship's biscuits, available with tea and coffee in the interval, and the biscuits alone are worth the ticket price!

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