By Louise Crawford
Calling all kids — and adults — who love swashbuckling adventure, pirates, and stories with smart, heroic children at the center.
At a recent preview of “Treasure Island,” now playing at Irondale Center, located in the Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church in Fort Greene, I sat next to Jordan Cooper, an adorable second grader at Park Slope’s PS 321, who was attending the play with her mother, Karin Ford.
She was rapt throughout the two-hour show, which includes a stellar cast of believably roguish actors, including Tom Hewitt as Long John Silver, Michael Gabriel Goodfriend as Black Dog, John Ahlin as Billy Bones and Philip Willingham as Willoughby. Rocco Sisto as Dr. Livesay, Kenneth Tigar as the Squire and Tom Beckett as Ben Gunn are also excellent.
Over the last few months, Jordon and her mom read the classic by Robert Louis Stevenson as a bedtime story, and they were both eager to see all their favorite scenes played out.
They were not disappointed.
“I loved all of it,” she told me. “Especially the scene where Jim Hawkins hides in the apple barrel.” (Indeed, heartthrob handsome Noah E. Galvin is simply wonderful as the young hero.)
If I say that the sound design by Will Pickens, the lighting design by Stewart Wagner and the set design by Tony Straiges stole the show, it is no diminishment of all the other well-oiled elements in this masterful production. That said, mention must be made of the teeming rain, the thunder, the tropical birds, the roaring sea, the seagulls, the cannon balls and the musket fire, which, add enormously, even exponentially, to the sensorial experience of the show.
The dirge-like singing, which is used as a transition between scenes also enhances the show. Credit goes to Ken Schatz, the musical director, who also appears as the Chanteyman (and also Mrs. Hawkins and Redruth). Small and immensely graceful, he climbs the ship’s rig and leads the pirates in classic chanteys in a voice both soulful and stirring.
Director B.H. Barry, who doubled as fight director and adaptor of this classic for the stage, deserves applause for the dramatic flow and the action-packed excitement.
This “Treasure Island” is a treasure, and it left Jordan and her mother wanting more.
“We’re going to go home and read the book again,” Ford told me.
“Treasure Island” at the Irondale Center [85 S. Oxford St. at Lafayette Avenue in Fort Greene. (718) 488-9233], now through March 26. Tickets $20-45. For info, visit www.irondale.org.