The Internet Theater Magazine of Reviews, Features, Annotated Listings








Etcetera and
Short Term Listings


NYC Restaurants


New Jersey







Free Updates
Writing for Us
A CurtainUp London London Review

"Knowing no other God but Love." — Fletcher Christian
Siubhan Harrison as Mi Mitti and Tom Morley as Fletcher Christian (Photo: Robert Workman)
Richard Bean writes his first play for the Globe in a collaboration with Out of Joint under Max Stafford-Clark and Chichester Festival Theatre. Pitcairn is about what happened to the mutineers on the famous ship the Bounty after they set their captain, Lieutenant Bligh adrift in a small launch with those loyal to him.

The Mutiny on the Bounty has been filmed several times with Fletcher Christian as the hero and Bligh as the vicious, vindictive commanding officer, played by Clark Gable and Charles Laughton, Marlon Brando and Trevor Howard, Mel Gibson and Anthony Hopkins.

What we know of the actual story is that Bligh wasn't any more cruel than other commanders and less punishing than many including Admiral Lord Nelson. The Bounty was sailing to Tahiti to bring back breadfruit to see if this crop could be grown in the West Indies to feed the slaves in the colonies. While waiting for the breadfruit to get to the right stage of ripeness, the sailors were onshore in Tahiti for months and found a sexual paradise which may have been the cause of the mutiny rather than the captain's alleged conduct.

What we do know is that of the nine to go to Pitcairn, all but two of the mutineers met a sticky end, after quarrelling over women and alcohol. They had come there to escape the British navy whom they knew would pursue them and take them back for trial and probable hanging.

Richard Bean's play opens with the naval officers searching for the mutineers and then switches back to the events on Pitcairn. The nine mutineers were accompanied by Tahitians, six men, eleven women and a baby, the women having been "stolen" by enticing them on board ship and setting sail from Tahiti. The first action is the burning of the ship, the Bounty, with the implications for escape. However it was felt that the presence of the ship would have led the navy to them on this tiny island in the Pacific, just 2.2 miles from west to east.

We see them arguing over the women and the rivalry between the mutineers and the Tahitian chief. We are told that iron was so precious that the Tahitian women would sleep with a sailor for a nail but it does seem as if a very different sexual code was present among the Tahitian woman from that of 18th century England. Richard Bean wouldn't be Richard Bean if he didn't take advantage of this sexual promiscuity and show us some of the erotic dancing with phalluses that the Tahitian girls exhibited. There are warnings about the sexual nature of the performance.

Without the forces of law and order, the idyllic life starts to fall apart. Sexual jealousy develops as the Tahitian woman are not used to exclusive relationships. Fletcher Christian (Tom Morley) suspects his wife Mi Mitti (Siubhan Harrison) is pregnant by Ned Young (Ash Hunter) and we learn that the women are also ambitious for money, land and titles.

Some of the play is quite hard to follow without a text as the men have been given Tahitian names as well as their English names. There are cute and amusing moments when one of the women Mata (Cassie Layton) asks members of the audience about their own sexual proclivities. A clever twist closes the action but Bean's play left me wanting to know more about the Pitcairn islanders and the reality of their lives after the mutiny.

Subscribe to our FREE email updates with a note from editor Elyse Sommer about additions to the website -- with main page hot links to the latest features posted at our numerous locations. To subscribe, E-mail:
put SUBSCRIBE CURTAINUP EMAIL UPDATE in the subject line and your full name and email address in the body of the message -- if you can spare a minute, tell us how you came to CurtainUp and from what part of the country.
Written by Richard Bean
Directed by Max Stafford-Clark

With: Lois Chimimba, Samuel Edward-Cook, Vanessa Emme, Eben Figueiredo, Siubhan Harrison, Saffron Hocking, Ash Hunter, Naveed Khan, Cassie Layton, Anna Leong Brophy, Tom Morley, Adam Newington, Henry Pettigrew, David Rubin, Jack Tarlton
Designer: Tim Shortall
Choreographer: Orian Michaeli
Composer: Adam Pleeth
Fights: Jonathan Waller
Running time: Two hours hour 30 minutes with an interval
Box Office: 020 7902 1400
Booking to 11 October 2014 at the Globe but on tour to 22nd November 2014
Reviewed by Lizzie Loveridge based on 24th September 2014 performance at Shakespeare's Globe, Globe Walk, London SE1 9DT (Tube: London Bridge/St Pauls)
Highlight one of the responses below and click "copy" or"CTRL+C"
  • I agree with the review of Pitcairn
  • I disagree with the review of Pitcairn
  • The review made me eager to see Pitcairn
Click on the address link E-mail:
Paste the highlighted text into the subject line (CTRL+ V):

Feel free to add detailed comments in the body of the email . . . also the names and emails of any friends to whom you'd like us to forward a copy of this review.

London Theatre Walks

Peter Ackroyd's  History of London: The Biography

London Sketchbook

tales from shakespeare
Retold by Tina Packer of Shakespeare & Co.
Click image to buy.
Our Review

©Copyright 2014, Elyse Sommer.
Information from this site may not be reproduced in print or online without specific permission from