Hunt for Treasure Island

August 24, 2021 | By | Reply More

★★★☆☆      Novel hunt

Georgian House (Venue 343): Fri 6 – Sun 15 Aug 2021
Review by Thom Dibdin

In Hunt for Treasure Island, Not Cricket Productions return to the Fringe with an enjoyable romp of a treasure hunt round the New Town, seeking out the stolen manuscript of Robert Louis Stevenson’s latest novel.

A quartet of characters who mirror those in the novel provide clues to the groups of up to six intrepid volunteers, who turn up (at discrete intervals) to the Georgian House on Charlotte Square.

As the participating audience in this piece of theatre-meets-locked-room we are detectives, hired by Mrs Stevenson, who must retrieve the manuscript within an hour – or the consequences will be dire…

A character with information to impart. Pic: Not Cricket Productions

The fun element for RLS fans is that the characters echo those from Treasure Island. Nor can we believe everything we have been told: The Manuscript has not been stolen for its intrinsic value, but for its value as a blackmail tool. Stevenson used a shade too much local knowledge, it seems, in his descriptions of the various low-life characters featured in the novel.

This works well as a themed out-door treasure hunt. The clues are well judged to appeal to different kinds of solution finding – map reading, lateral thinking and the use of codes are all in evidence. So too are red herrings – some more by happenstance or virtue of the setting itself than others.

The theatrical element is slight – but well done. The actresses playing the various characters – RLS’s wife; a do gooding neighbour; a duplicitous landlady up from Leith; and a young mother fearful for her family if their crimes are exposed, keep in character while making sure that the treasure seekers are only given the knowledge they have earned.

Umbrellas will be useful

The only drawback, according to the younger and more stoutly fair-minded members of our party, was that by successfully returning the manuscript to Mrs Stevenson we would be condemning the last young lassie we had met to a life in prison. And, more to the point, how come this RLS bloke wasn’t hunting for his own manuscript himself but had sent his wife out to do it for him?

A letter clue. Pic: Not Cricket Productions

The show comes with obvious weather warnings. Umbrellas will be useful if it is likely to be raining: not so much for keeping you dry, but to help keep the rain off any paper you are using to make notes on. Every participating group gets a map and marker to use, but having your own pencil will certainly come in handy and, depending on the ability of your group to share, a wee note book each.

Skirting carefully over the moral questions involved, this is an enjoyable way to see round a few corners of the New Town which have, in their day, been used for the fringe but sadly are not at this moment. And one which will satisfy family and adult parties equally, although probably in different ways.

Running time: 1 hour (but you might be quicker, you might take longer)
The Georgian House, 7 Charlotte Square, EH2 4DR (Venue 343)
Friday 6 – Sunday 15 August 2021
Every 10 minutes, 5pm – 7pm.

Tickets and details: https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/hunt-for-treasure-island
Company website: http://simplyspiffing.co.uk
Twitter: @simplyspiffing
Facebook: @notcricketproductions
Instagram: @notcricketproductions

ENDS

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