Review: ‘Treasure Island’ at Encore Stage & Studio

Encore Stage & Studio first began in 1967 as The Children’s Theatre of Arlington and has produced over 175 shows. Their most recent production is a clever and fun adaption, by Playwright and Composer Matthew Heap, of the much-loved novel Treasure Island, written by Robert Louis Stevenson.

I will not give anything away but let me just say that Heap did a fantastic job adding some lessons to the story of the treasure hunters that resonate well with today’s society. Not to mention his pop-culture references that caught me by surprise and had me literally LOL-ing.

Long John Silver (Louisa Martial) and the gang begin their search for the treasure map. Photo by Aileen Pangan.
From left to right: Anne Dieulevent (Miranda Tonsetic), Christina Anne Skyette (Colleen Jackson), Elizabeth Killigrew (Abi Burkholder), Annie Bonney (Cecelia Haislmaier), Grace O’Malley (Isabella Russo), and Jeanne de Clisson (Holly Durham). Photo by Larry McClemons.

Susan Alison Keady (Artistic Director/Director), Sarah Conrad (Assistant Director/Choreographer), and Jim Clancy (Fight Director), did an incredible job working with these rising theater hopefuls, who were clearly dedicated to their art and having a blast.

Kristen Jepperson’s (Set Designer/Builder, Technical Director) set was impressive, which included a mock ship that looked amazing.  Adding to the set were Marji Jepperson as the Props & Set Dressing Designer/Assistant Technical Director and Debra Leonard as the Costume and Make-up Designer.

Billy Bones (Zach Longsworth) shares his pirate adventures with Jemma Hawkins (Maddy Zobrist). Photo by Larry McClemons.
Billy Bones (Zach Longsworth) shares his pirate adventures with Jemma Hawkins (Maddy Zobrist). Photo by Larry McClemons.

The cast did a wonderful job and all deserve a mention: Duncan Andrews (Cedric Hawkins, Ship’s Officer), Nicholas Boone (Blind Pew, Green Goose), Abi Burkholder (Elizabeth Killigrew), Liam Clancy (Dr. Livesey), Sydney Dodini (Black Dog), Ethan Dodini (Taver Patron, Ship’s Officer), Holly Durham (Jeanne de Clisson), Grace Gent (Mr. Arrow), Colleen Jackson (Christina Anne Skyette), Cecilia Haislmaier (Annie Bonney), Zach Longsworth (Billy Bones), Louisa Martial (Long John Silver), Kelly McArdle (Scurvy Jack Compton), Brian Metcalf (Squire Trelawney), Ashley Michaelis (Parrot), Ben Nelson (Rot Nose Pete, Tavern Patron), Ian Onufrak (Two-Toes Sam), Josh Ramthum (Cheese-Thief Ben), Isabella Russo (Grace O’Malley), Miranda Tonsetic (Anne Dieulevent), Hannah Torma (Squid-Lips Tom, Tavern Patron), Lia Vicens (Jacob Grills), Annie Wood (Captain Smollett), and Maddy Zobrist (Jemma Hawkins).

Some notable performances came from Anne Dieulevent and Christina Anne Skyette as two of the Ladies Crew out to show Long John Silver and his men that women can do anything.  They played their parts strongly and with confidence. It was wonderful to watch these little women taking charge.

The Parrot played by Michaelis was adorable.The tilting head.The funny faces. The “parroting.” She was perfect.

Longsworth as Billy Bones also gave an impressive performance, as did Jemma Hawkins (Zobrist) and Long John Silver (Martial), who had an on and off and on again sort of friendship. The two worked very well together.

Encore Stage & Studio’s original adaptation of Treasure Island is a fantastic family show.  With a little gender bending and some 21st century references, the talented young actors put on light-hearted and amusing show that was a delight to see. Don’t miss it!

Running Time: One hour and 45 minutes, with one 15-minute intermission.


Treasure Island plays through Sunday, March 6, 2016 at Encore Stage & Studio – –125 South Old Glebe Road, in Arlington, VA. For tickets, call (703) 548-1154, or purchase them online.


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