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Keith Allen finds Treasure at Haymarket

Published 5 September 2008

Actor, presenter and musician Keith Allen is set to limp his way through a West End Christmas season at the Theatre Royal Haymarket, playing peg-legged pirate Long John Silver in a new adaptation of Treasure Island.

Ken Ludwig’s version of Robert Louis Stevenson’s famous adventure novel opens at the Theatre Royal Haymarket on 17 November, following previews from 7 November, and is booking until February 2009.

Allen, the father of songstress Lily and fellow actor Alfie, is best known for his television performances as another iconic literary ne’er-do-well, the Sheriff of Nottingham in the recent BBC series of Robin Hood. On stage he is a Pinter specialist, having appeared in productions of The Celebration and The Room at the Almeida, and The Homecoming at the National Theatre.

Treasure Island, published in 1883, tells the tale of a hunt for buried booty, and is rife with treachery, drama, pieces of eight, X marking the spot and deception as a group of trustworthy gentlemen and pirates search for the lost treasure of Captain Flint.

The swashbuckling story has often been retold on stage and screen with stars including Orson Welles, Charlton Heston, Christian Bale, Christopher Lee, Pete Postlethwaite and The Muppets taking leading roles.

Treasure Island adaptor Ludwig previously adapted another literary classic, The Three Musketeers, for the Bristol Old Vic’s 2006 Christmas production. His other credits include the musical Crazy For You and plays Lend Me A Tenor and Moon Over Buffalo.

The creative team behind Treasure Island is led by director Sean Holmes, whose recent works includes The Man Who Had All The Luck (Donmar Warehouse), Moonlight And Magnolias and Twelfth Night (both Tricycle). Holmes’s work will be seen at the Tricycle again later in the year when he directs a revival of Joe Orton’s comedy Loot.

The Treasure Island creative team is completed by designer Lizzie Clachan, lighting designer Paul Anderson, composers Tom Haines and Ross Hughes, and sound designer Emma Laxton.

Treasure Island follows the London premiere of Girl With A Pearl Earring into the Theatre Royal Haymarket. Another adaptation of a best-selling novel, it tells of the painter Vermeer and his inspiration for his greatest work. Girl With A Pearl Earring, which stars Adrian Dunbar and Kimberley Nixon, runs from 29 September to 1 November

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