Pitcairn by Richard Bean, Warwick Arts Centre until October 24.
All Fletcher Christian wants for his new society in paradise is reason and
A straightforward code to live by, perhaps, but simply shedding the officers’
uniforms that Christian and his sidekick wore while seizing the Bounty and
setting Captain Bligh adrift is not going to be enough. The mutineers and their
Tahitian followers must also shed the strait-jacket of class and sexual and
This new play by the writer of One Man, Two Guvnors picks up the celebrated
story some months on, at a critical point in Christian’s social experiment, with
suspicion, greed and lust already beginning to assert themselves.
Its exploration of the weighty themes of society and human nature are framed
by a beautifully conjured South Sea Island setting, all rocks and tide, but
there’s a confusion at the heart of this play that can’t be hidden. The mix of
high drama and a skittish kind of knowing comedy is wrong somehow.
The ensemble cast work hard to maintain credibility as seadog humour
steadily gives way to horror, but struggle to convince. And using the audience
as a sounding board, in the nudge, nudge manner of a slightly dodgy
pantomime, does not work at all.