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'Treasure Island' gets high marks on the high seas

By: Don Chaddock, Telegraph Managing Editor
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Blades cross, cannons fire and the jolly roger is hoisted in “Treasure Island” at Sutter Street Theatre in Folsom. As part of the cozy theater’s Young People’s Series, the play is penned by B Street Theatre’s Jerry Montoya and directed by Sutter Street Theatre’s Mike Jimena. With an emphasis on set design and costumes, the actors are given plenty to work with. On a recent rainy Sunday, I anchored at the theater with two of my kids, 11-year-old Parker and 12-year-old Cian. Based on Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic book of the same name, the actors breathe life into the characters. Cian said his favorite was Miranda Smuckers (Cassidy Cagney) while my daughter said her favorite was Dr. Livesy (Charles Popp). Cassidy is an eighth-grader at Folsom Middle School. Popp is a retired U.S. Air Force master navigator. Slightly longer than most of the plays geared for a younger audience — running at about 90 minutes including a 15-minute intermission — the play focuses on orphan sisters Miranda and Zoe (Monique Lonergan) with their friend Jim Hawkins (Riley Spieler). The first set is the ship and inn, but during the intermission, the crew rushes out with greenery, rocks and new backgrounds to take the audience to the island to search for buried treasure. The sets and costumes are top-notch. Parker, a budding theater critic, said she also enjoyed the play’s pacing. Veteran Sutter Street actor Brady Tait takes on two roles, as Billy Bones in the opening scenes and later as Ben Gunn. A real scene stealer was Black Dog (Casey Camacho) who cuts a fine figure of a pirate. The 17-year-old Natomas Charter School Performing and Fine Arts Academy student threw himself into the role of the rum-soaked scallywag. It’s no wonder the actor has real stage presence since he has 30 shows on his resume as well as an Elly nomination. Long John Silver (Elio Gutierrez) comes complete with his peg leg, parrot and penchant for treasure. The play features a few skirmishes, musket fire, cannon blasts, a ship-to-ship battle, swords and plenty of comedy thrown into the mix. Gutierrez is a UC Davis grad and has performed in plays regularly at the Woodland Opera House. Expect high adventure on the high seas as the play continues a few more weekends, running through Nov. 28. * * * KNOW AND GO What: “Treasure Island” When: 1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, through Nov. 28 Where: Sutter Street Theatre, 717 Sutter St., Folsom Cost: $17 general, $15 seniors and SARTA members, $13 children 12 and younger Information: sutterstreettheatre.com or (916) 353-1001 Rating: 5 out of 5 stars