Treasure Island - Le Navet Bete - MAST Mayflower Review

Treasure Island is a story that has taken on many forms since its creation in 1883. What started as a novel has now turned into a movie, musical, TV series and play. There was even a Muppets version which is arguably one of the best, that is until Le Navet Bete came along with their version, that doesn't quite fit the timeless tale perfectly. 

Le Navet Bete are a theatre troupe from Exeter, UK that have been putting on shows to entertain the masses since 2008. If you are a fan of slightly slapstick shows that don't take themselves seriously, that also have some magical elements that the whole family will love, then Le Navet Bete are the group for you. Whenever I try and describe them to friends I always mention Mischief Theatre, but Le Navet Bete are in a league of their own! 

After seeing two of their previous shows (Dracula: The Bloody Truth and The Three Musketeers) we were looking forward to seeing what was next on their list to tour. This time is was the age old tale of Treasure Island, and boy was it a tale to remember. 

Based loosely on the tale that we know and love, you are introduced to Jim Hawkins as he heads out on his journey to discover the treasure on a Caribbean island after inheriting a map from Billy Bones. As he hops onto the ship called the Jolly Todger with crew mates Long John Silver, Captain Birdseye, Black Dog and Blue Peter, you realise that this tale isn't going to go the way you think it would. Whilst I don't want to spoil the story, I do love the way that even until the end of it, we still weren't sure exactly how the tale would pan out. Would Jim Hawkins find the treasure? Would Alexa the bird finally listen to people? What on earth is Captain Birdseye making?

In each show, all the parts are played by 4 brilliant actors that make up Le Navet Bete. Each of them play a multitude of characters that can range from the serious to the absurd. When you think things can't get any more stranger the guys somehow manage to take things to the next level. it's brilliant to see that they aren't afraid to do anything, and are able to ad-lib and improvise when things don't go the way they planned. We had a couple of times where things clearly didn't go the way they should have done, but to the untrained (well someone that doesn't go to the theatre as much as us!) eye you wouldn't be able to tell the difference. It was just brilliant. 

It's worth saying that Le Navet Bete shows are nothing short of creatively and chaotically perfect. Whilst there is everything for kids to enjoy including audience participation, panto-esque shout outs and slapstick humour, there is also enough for the adults to find it hilarious in a completely different way. With innuendos, questionable costumes and hilarity that will go right over a kids head, it ticks the boxes for good old family fun at the theatre. It's testament to their skill to know that they can create these shows that are just perfect in every way. 

Treasure Island, along with the other plays by Le Navet Bete is on tour around the UK this year. The team are back to their Exeter roots this Christmas to perform another new show for the Christmas season too. For more information and to see where they might be this year follow the link:

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