Cumbernauld Theatre to adapt Kidnapped

Robert Louis Stevenson's swashbuckling yarn offers 'competing visions about the future of Scotland'

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Cumbernauld Theatre to adapt Kidnapped

Photo: Tommy Ga-Ken Wan

Robert Louis Stevenson’s swashbuckling tale set in the aftermath of the Jacobite rebellion of 1745 is being adapted for the stage by Cumbernauld Theatre this month. The coming-of-age adventure story is a journey through both time and terrain as young protagonist David Balfour tries to make good the wrongdoings of his duplicitous uncle, Ebeneezer.

Transposing the cross-country tale from page to stage took a ‘careful blend of approaches’, according to artistic director Ed Robson.
‘Atop a mountain in Glencoe: the loneliness, the silence, the awe. Trudging in the rain through the Rannoch Moor: the misery, the mud, the never-ending horizon … Each place has atmosphere and we use different techniques to try and convey its spirit,’ he says.

Rich portrayals of Scottish landscape are complemented by an immersion into the country at a unique period in its history, allowing analogies to be drawn between Scotland of the 18th century and the present day.

‘It is a novel about the values and ideas of a nation,’ says Robson. ‘The political context is key: a turbulent society in the throes of significant change, competing visions about the future of Scotland.’

Although Stevenson’s novel is predominantly (perhaps unfairly) categorised as a children’s book, Robson insists his production is suitable for adults too.

‘A great story is a great story. So our audiences will enjoy not just a terrific piece of theatre but also, perhaps, see the story in a new light.’

Cumbernauld Theatre, touring Scotland until Sat 26 May.

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