National Theatre of Scotland is excited to announce the world premiere of Kidnapped, a swashbuckling reimagining of the Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic adventure novel. The new production, a riotous new retelling adapted by Isobel McArthur with Michael John McCarthy, will be touring Scotland and Northern England in 2023.
Kidnapped is a colourful new take on Stevenson’s historical adventure story about David Balfour who leaves home for the first time and must grow up fast to solve a family mystery and take revenge on an evil assailant. This vibrant production is a coming-of-age rom com for today, which celebrates the poetry, humour and heart of Stevenson’s writing.
This version of Kidnapped reframes the relationship between the central characters Davie Balfour and Alan Breck Stewart as a romance, which is played out through their adventures across the Lowlands and Highlands of a Scotland, still reeling from the aftermath of the 1745 Jacobite rebellion. Robert Louis Stevenson's wife, Frances, an American writer who supported Robert throughout his writing, also features in the production in the role of a spirit guide to the protagonist.
Co-created by Isobel McArthur and Michael John McCarthy, writer and musical supervisor of the Olivier award-winning Pride & Prejudice* (*sort of), Kidnapped is packed full of 20th century pop music and 18th century romance performed by a dynamic ensemble of actor-musicians.
The music - performed live - is arranged by Michael John McCarthy and will include well-loved songs including denim-clad Americana, late 90s love songs, art rock, protest anthems, 80s synth-pop, Gaelic folk song and more.
Opening at the Beacon Arts Centre, Greenock and touring to Theatre Royal, Glasgow; Edinburgh; Eden Court, Inverness; Perth Theatre and Northern Stage, Newcastle from March to May 2023.
Isobel McArthur and Michael John McCarthy – Kidnapped co-creators said:
“In Kidnapped, there seemed to us to be more of Stevenson the man, his beliefs and experiences, than in any other of his works of fiction. His deeply romantic view of being human, his attempts to hold onto a sense of innocence and wonder at the world, his lust for travel, his attraction to glamour and physical strength… they are all here! In this novella, Stevenson asks what it is to be Scottish, to be in in love, to be a grown-up – all through the telling of a historical tale, full of humour, heart and song. It’s a true adventure story – where body, heart and soul are put through their paces – to, by turns, thrilling, moving and humorous effect. We just couldn’t pass it up.”
Jackie Wylie, Artistic Director of the National Theatre of Scotland said:
“We are thrilled to be bringing Isobel McArthur and Michael John McCarthy’s joyful version of Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic to UK stages in 2023. It is important to us that audiences across Scotland and beyond will have the chance to jump on board with this life affirming, musical romance that retells a brilliant Scottish adventure story with such fearless theatrical panache.”
Full details here.