Once again, the award winning team who gave us Pride and Prejudice* (sort of) have worked their magic on another literary classic, creating an unexpected musical hit with Kidnapped.

Robert Louis Stevenson’s original work is re-imagined here for modern audiences by director and co-creator Isobel McArthur, whose particular style successfully carries over with her joint love for Scotland and literature shining through. Alongside composer and co-creator Michael John McCarthy and co-director Gareth Nicholls, they have created a show where no prior knowledge of the story (or the Jacobite rebellion) is necessary. McArthur has previously expressed that theatre and literature being accessible for all is her top priority and it shows here.

No strangers to poking fun at our own history, the team highlight the complexities of growing up as a young man in rural Scotland through the swashbuckling tale of young Davie Balfour (Ryan J Mackay) who confronts pirates and politics on an accidental journey of self-discovery set to the music of 80s pop covers.

A key player in the retelling of Stevenson’s work is none other than his self-assured, older, American, previously divorced wife, Frances Stevenson – played flawlessly by Kim Ismay. Her story is weaved and reflected in Davie’s as we learn what led her to meet Stevenson and how she was the driving force behind the story’s fruition.

The lively ensemble run at a break-neck pace in costumes and on a set that look as though they’ve been thrown together in a hap-dash fashion by Anna Orton, but this is a decisive move done with care that pays off well. The cast also play their own instruments live, covering a range of well known artists such as Erasure, Johnny Cash, and Big Country which helps to underscore the mood of the scene and add some fun despite the anachronism.

Stand outs from the cast include Malcolm Cumming, who plays the charming Alan Breck Stewart – the Jacobite renegade who develops a connection with Davie that throws all nuance out the window. David Rankine delivers a great camp pirate with veneers, and Christina Gordon has some great one-liners.

Ben Ormerod’s inventive and colourful lighting designs deserve a shout out also, transforming caves into casinos and an underwater scene into a beautiful heart-felt sequence.

This Kidnapped takes the source material to its extremes, exaggerating plot points for comedic or dramatic effect, or both. Only a few jokes don’t land due to the repetitive nature of them, which is perhaps an effort to appeal to younger audience member’s humour.

Overall though, the show celebrates Scottish culture and the lives of those who made the story possible. Pulling inspiration from unexpected sources, the juxtaposing mediums somehow work well together. With a top-class musical and comedic cast alongside a near-perfect script, you have a carefully crafted action-packed show made to be accessible to all.