THERE were more mermaids, water nymphs and surfers than in the original, but Treasure Island – The Musical enthralled local audiences here during its run of two evening performances, one matinee.
No surprise in one way because most of the audience were related to the cast of 170 children, aged four to nine. More of a surprise that the acting, dancing and singing were good enough to carry the show without family members having to compete for Bafta over-acting awards later when complimenting the mini-performers.
It reminded me, not for the first time with two teachers in our family, how much unsung work good and dedicated teachers do beyond a return for their monthly pay slip.
I go cold at the thought of teaching 20 to 30 children of any age. To go beyond that and help get 170 on stage at the right times, with the correct actions and words, not once, but thrice, would leave me needing therapy.
The perils of nativity plays are well known. Jacqueline’s worst was when already trying to cope with a shepherd who insisted on flashing his pants and a frozen, as in petrified and immobile, on-stage lamb, there was an outbreak of vomiting among the donkeys. Seven months pregnant at the time, she was uncharacteristically terse when a child said amid the chaos: “Miss, are you having a baby?”
“Yes,” Jacq said, mopping up vomit, adjusting tea-towel headdresses and giving the flashing shepherd a final warning, “but I don’t want to have it today.”
I don’t know if there was such drama behind the scenes at Treasure Island. I’d be surprised if there wasn’t. But on-stage the show, lasting more than an hour, was almost hitch-less, with the main characters word-perfect, backed by the Benbow dancers, Semaphore sailors, water nymphs, skeletons, pirates, sunshine dancers, mermaids and surfers.
And, of course, highlight of the show, Ebba’s nursery class as trainee pirates. Running on the spot in gym kit with painted beards and determined expressions, swabbing the deck, climbing the rigging, rowing and saluting, the group of small figures were kept at it for what seemed an unfeasibly long time. But only one or two lost concentration enough to stop and gaze at the audience and only one attempted a wave before getting back to swabbing away furiously.
Someone’s granny sitting next to me was surreptitiously using a tissue during this part. For some reason, she passed one to me only seconds before Liz passed one from the other side. As if. «
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Weather for Edinburgh
Saturday 18 May 2013
Temperature: 9 C to 13 C
Wind Speed: 18 mph
Wind direction: North east
Temperature: 9 C to 18 C
Wind Speed: 8 mph
Wind direction: North east