Audible Originals takes to the high seas to bring to life this timeless tale of pirates, lost treasure maps and mutiny, starring BAFTA-nominated Catherine Tate (The Catherine Tate Show, The Office, Doctor Who), Philip Glenister (Outcast, Life On Mars), Owen Teale (Game of Thrones, Pulse, Last Legion) and Daniel Mays (The Adventures of Tintin, Rogue One, Atonement), amongst others.
When weathered old sailor Billy Bones arrives at the inn of young Jim Hawkins' parents, it is the start of an adventure beyond anything he could have imagined. When Bones dies mysteriously, Jim stumbles across a map of a mysterious island in his sea chest, where X marks the spot of a stash of buried pirate gold. Soon after setting sail to recover the treasure, Jim realises that he's not the only one intent on discovering the hoard. Suddenly he is thrown into a world of treachery, mutiny, castaways and murder, and at the centre of it all is the charming but sinister Long John Silver, who will stop at nothing to grab his share of the loot.
One of the best-loved adventure stories ever written, Robert Louis Stevenson's 1881 novel introduced us to characters such as the unforgettable Long John Silver, forever associating peg-legged pirates with 'X marks the spot' in our cultural consciousness. Following the success of the double Audie Award-winning Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book: The Mowgli Stories, Audible Originals UK are excited to announce this reimagination of Stevenson's coming-of-age story that will captivate all of the family.
The Audible dramatization of Treasure Island is excellent, with only a few false steps. Owen Teale is great as Silver, with his combination of flattery and ruthlessness. (I would have expected no less of Alliser Thorne.) But that points to one of the false steps here: the cast is named but not the parts they play; I was able to confirm that Teale was Silver only by locating a press release online. That seems a little ungenerous to my way of thinking.
For the record: besides Teale, Philip Glenister is Dr Livesey; Daniel Mays is Ben Gunn; Catherine Tate is Jim's mother. And who among the named cast plays Jim Hawkins, who with his narration has by far the most audio time? No idea. Even Audible'a promotional video doesn't mention him.
Another false step is that there are long gaps of silence between scenes. It's not unusual for an audio play to observe a moment of silence to mark a transition. But here, the gaps between scenes last several seconds; a couple of times I wondered if I'd gone into sleep mode by mistake. These gaps seem tailor-made for some linking music to be added in post-production, but there isn't any. It affects the pace. The gaps seem to slow things down. (There IS music from time to time, usually to set a somber or threatening tone.)
It's a subdued production: a quiet, gritty Treasure Island, one that avoids flashy swashing and buckling in favor of soft and sinister exchanges. And it's a reflective adaptation: with the help of a few lines and a couple of scenes not in the book, it creates a much stronger sense of moral ambiguity than in the book. The Jim Hawkins who returns from the voyage is a very different person than the boy who left, and the difference is bittersweet and satisfying.
In general the production adheres closely to the events of the book — including lots of narration from Jim Hawkins — but it does make some changes. Some scenes are expanded with additional dialogue to good effect (Israel Hands is given a chance to shine, as is Silver's parrot); other changes are apparently made just for the sake of change. Abraham Gray, a brave and honest seaman in the book, is presented here as a sniveling coward.
But despite its subdued tone, and a few changes I found jarring, I found it a compelling listen, one that drew me in by its quiet intensity rather than histrionics. I put that down to the excellence of the cast and the sound design. It's an oddly intimate version of an action-packed adventure.
A version of Treasure Island stands or falls by its Long John Silver and its Jim Hawkins. Both are excellent here: multifaceted and multilayered. And they are given a "necessary scene" at the end that is missing from the book; it's a scene that appears in several film versions of the story, but here it's given straight, without a trace of sentimentality.
The producers have given themselves (and the writer) enough runtime to develop the story much more fully than is usually the case. I enjoyed it a lot, and I recommend it.
87 of 89 people found this review helpful
This was exciting and well-acted, and then they changed the end totally unnecessarily. I thoroughly enjoyed this version of my favorite rollicking sea story, but the mysteriously changed the end to make what appeared to be a social commentary. I would have given 5 stars easily if they had left Jim to his riches and hatred of the sea. AUDIBLE 20 REVIEW SWEEPSTAKES ENTRY
78 of 81 people found this review helpful
Please forgive me: I gave a pass on all things Robert Louis Stevenson when I was younger, thinking all his books were good for boys only. And now, when I'm 50+, I decided to give 'im a try and almost got the Alfred Molina version here on Audible. But I'm actually kinda into grand performances so I got this full cast production instead.
And boy am I glad I did! Pirates! The high seas! Treasure! All done so well, it was a blast!
One thing, though. As I never read RLS before, I can't say whether or not the ending was changed, as one reviewer noted. I can only say that the ending here was fun and quite satisfying: it left you feeling that adventure truly got into the lucky (he HAD to have had quite some luck!) Jim's blood, and the end was only the beginning.
Fun for the family, fun for the lone grown-up.
What fun all around!
19 of 22 people found this review helpful
Treasure Island has long been a favorite of mine and this adaptation from Audible Studios did not disappoint. While the story remains basically the same they do introduce some subtle changes to the original - some good, some not so good. Overall though, it was a riveting adventure that kept my attention throughout the entire reading. The narration was top notch.
11 of 13 people found this review helpful
I was leery of a performed interpretation. Others I've heard in the past were hokey. This was fantastic! Thoroughly enjoyed it in every way. I can't say enough positive about this. The only tiny reservation: some of the accents were so authentic that it was difficult to make out certain words, or the occasional sentence. But don't let that stop you. This is a first rate production. Bravo Audible! I hope this inspires Audible to bring other classic novels to life. We would love to hear Moby Dick next…
10 of 12 people found this review helpful
Where does Treasure Island rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?
What other book might you compare Treasure Island to and why?
Being an audio play rather than a standard narration, hard to compare to other books. Only other work in this category is Jungle Book: Mowgli Stories which is much darker material.
Which character – as performed by the narrators – was your favorite?
Jim Hawkins. Really thought I was listening to a 16-year-old. Gerran Howell captures the transition from wide-eyed innocent teenager to a seasoned young man quite well. A lot of good performances from other cast members, but credit to Howell is sorely lacking.
5 of 6 people found this review helpful
I found this recording to be very difficult to listen to. The action scenes, the voices were very mixed and jumbled. It was hard to understand what was going on. If I didn’t already know the story I would have been lost.
4 of 5 people found this review helpful
Amazing Amazing Amazing piece of work. This rendition is a 10/10. Knocked it out of the park. So good I have gifted it to 2 co-workers and and my good friends with kids :)
I have very high confidence a reader/listener of any age will be very satisfied :)
4 of 5 people found this review helpful
Without previewing this I bought this thinking that I would have the words read verbatim, however it was and interpreted performance which is OK but left out a lot of detail and that what I was looking for.
18 of 25 people found this review helpful
Lost me when Jim's uber aggressive Brow Beating mother turned into a simpering coward.
Tedious and overly meladramtic for my taste.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
The story itself reads like the blueprint for all swashbuckling pirate adventures. The brilliantly original characters are brought to life by equally excellent voice actors accompanied by delicious sound effects of the sea and the strange atmosphere of the mysterious treasure island. I was swept along by the many twists and turns of the plot and the gruff tones of the pirates that are intertwined in them.
This is exactly how dramatisations should be executed.
12 of 12 people found this review helpful
Thoroughly enjoyed this version of Treasure Island. Faithful to the book but with enough dramatic licence to keep it original and entertaining and helped even further by a wonderful cast. Superb.
10 of 10 people found this review helpful
A truly brilliant audio book, with a great story, and a exceptional performance by all of the cast. This will definitely be listened to again and again.
Please make more!
6 of 6 people found this review helpful
hanging on every word. i loved it, kids loved it. great way to pass the school run.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
Any additional comments?
Truth be told when I first saw Catherine Tate was included among the star studded narrators chosen for this original dramatised version of one of my all time favourite fiction stories, I was pessimistic to say the least. But boy how wrong I was.
Coming from R.L Stevenson's home place of birth in the seaside town of Dorset, I feel a special affinity with this story. I have got hold of all the different versions of this story possible, so I was intrigued to see how this version, although dramatised, would be any different.
Well I can tell you now I was captivated and highly entertained throughout the entire audiobook. I hate to steal the line that you may find on other reviews for dramatised books, but this really was like being involved in a film which was being played to me inside my head. I am currently looking forward to listening to it again, so much so I have placed other books I am looking forward to listening to on the back-burner.
This was a great time to release this audiobook, this would be even more captivating listening from a beach! Whether you will be listening from a beach or on the bus, in your car, home or the comfort of your bed as you slowly wind down for an evening, I am certain you'll have the same experience.. this was great fun!
29 of 34 people found this review helpful
An excellent adaptation. Always a joy to hear Philip Glenister and Owen Teale was magical as Long John. Lots of light and shade to the performances. Excellent.
8 of 9 people found this review helpful
After watching the black sails show on prime video I wanted to read treasure island to continue the story of the show which was a prequel of sorts. Then I found this on audible and it was what I was looking for and the cast with some good names convinced me to buy
8 of 9 people found this review helpful
I had never read this tale so thought I would take the opportunity of buying it on the daily deal. The story isn't particularly to my taste, but that is down to the fact that I am an 'Older' woman. It was well dramatised and I am sure will be interesting for my grandsons.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
Great book, great story and was read beautifully read. As I sat in the dark and listened, I could picture every scene. I was there!
would highly recommend.
7 of 8 people found this review helpful
as one would expect a amazing cast and a epic tale read by epic character brought to life in a truly classical way
enjoy it is a new wine with a vintage taste
7 of 8 people found this review helpful
There’s much more to this rollicking tale than I remembered. Well worth revisiting. Loved it
Skips the old language by putting it in play form. Easily accessible and a great form of the original story.