Review: KIDNAPPED, Theatre Royal, Glasgow

The National Theatre of Scotland presents a riotous re-telling of Kidnapped

By: Apr. 06, 2023
Review: KIDNAPPED, Theatre Royal, Glasgow



Review: KIDNAPPED, Theatre Royal, Glasgow

Presented by The National Theatre of Scotland, Kidnapped is a swashbuckling romantic comedy adventure based on the novel by Robert Louis Stevenson. Kidnapped is written by Isobel McArthur and Michael John McCarthy and directed by Isobel McArthur and Gareth Nicholls.

Kim Ismay plays Frances, the wife of Robert Louis Stevenson. She narrates the tale and Kidnapped is presented as a story alongside her own autobiography. On researching Kidnapped, writer Isobel Mcarthur learned that Frances was a professional writer herself and editor/collaborator in her husband's writing. Her story is a fascinating one and it is no exaggeration to say that Ismay is simply extraordinary in her performance.

McArthur is best known for her exceptional Olivier-Award-winning play Pride and Prejudice* *Sort Of and you can see the same sense of humour and joy applied to this retelling of Kidnapped. 20th-century music is interspersed with the story and it works a treat.

Ryan J Mackay plays Davie Balfour, a young man who has just lost both his parents and his home. He finds a mysterious letter from his father who urges him to seek out an uncle he has never heard of to discover a family secret. After a two-day walk, he locates his uncle on a sprawling but dilapidated estate. His uncle then pays pirates to kidnap him to prevent him from discovering the family secret. It's a non-stop adventure with plot twists a plenty.

Malcolm Cumming plays the dashing Alan Breck Stewart who finds himself aboard the same vessel as Davie and there is an immediate spark between the pair. It's a beautiful and well-portrayed love story that spans across the years and the difficulties that they face with Alan being on the run.

The ensemble cast are fantastic, the musical performances are brilliant and Anna Orton's set and costume design makes for a visual feast throughout. This is Scottish theatre at its absolute finest and I would urge anyone who is able to catch Kidnapped on the rest of its Scottish or Brighton run to do so!

Photo credit: Mihaela Bodlovic