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Black Island: The stage production

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#1 · Posted: 5 May 2004 19:38
While researching something completely different, I came across what appears to be a review of a play adaptation of The Black Island, possibly at the Arts Theatre in London, from The Times of January 14th 1981. Has anyone ever heard of this? And was there another Tintin adaptation 4 years previously?

Here's the review:

Tintin and the Black island

Irving Wardle

Four years have passed since Hergé's intrepid boy reporter last conducted an inquiry at this address, but from the new generation of seven to 12 year olds packing the Arts it is clear that he has not yet been outclassed by Buffalo Arthur.

The present adventure (adapted by Geoffrey Case) runs true to form with the bequiffed hero and his faithful hound stumbling upon an international crime ring and running the villains to earth in spite of blundering intrusions from the forces of law and order. This time the gang are printing their own money, and the chase leads to a Hebridean island of sinister reputation where everybody, including two bowler-hatted Scotland Yard clones, goes into kilts.

Comic relief, supplied mainly by the above-mentioned pair, is not up to much. But villainy, of the reliable German variety is fast moving and ruthless, and even generates some laughs of its own; particularly from Hugh Hayes, who goes through the show with an upraised plaster-encased arm which serves variously as a Hitler salute and a coat-hanger; and from Leda Hodgson, as a self-dramatising spy with her heart so much in the right place that she is finally presented with an aircraft propellor for her solo getaway.

Richard Drabble is in perfect control of the hero's precocious confidence and his flair for putting one and one together; and Tony Wredden's simply staged production contains some well-timed surprises, ingenious effects (such as the repeated line "Come on" accelerating into the roar of an aircraft engine), and achieves a good balance between thrills and burlesque.
Trivia Challenge Score Keeper
#2 · Posted: 5 May 2004 21:05
There is very little known about this production these days, though I know it went to Canada and was performed in Quebec at least as late as December 1984, translated into French. Well done for finding the article!
#3 · Posted: 6 May 2004 00:52
The only other thing I could find on the web was this page:


which (towards the end) lists the 1984 production. I think Geoffrey Case, the adapter, wrote stuff for television.
#4 · Posted: 20 May 2004 08:22

I recollect that on a visit to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in the early eighties, I was standing in a queue to see a show in a venue off the Royal Mile. As we passed down the alley at the side of the building (Fringe venues famously tend to be cellars, back rooms, spare bedrooms etc.), I could see down into the courtyard behind another venue, and, lo! Tintin, Haddock, and I think the Thompsons were performing for a group of children! They were instantly recognisable, even though I only got a fleeting glimpse of the proceedings.

I never found out what it was, or which company did it, but my memory says it was a staging of Crab. However, memory is a terrible thing for cheating, so it could just have easily been Black Island.

I know it isn’t much to go on, but it *could* have been another incarnation of the play you are researching.
UK Correspondent
#5 · Posted: 3 Mar 2005 22:17
Stop press !

I have made a rather interesting discovery on the 'net. "Tintin and the Black Island" was adapted by Geoffrey Case, directed by Tony Wredden and performed by the Unicorn Theatre Company in 1980. It starred Richard Drabble as Tintin, Haluk Bilginer as Dr Muller, Hugh Hayes as Ivan, Carl Heap as Ranko and Leda Hodgson as Olga.

And that's not the best part ... here is a photograph from the production.
#6 · Posted: 3 Mar 2005 22:30
I don't know what's funnier... the fact that there's a guy in a monkey suit, or that there's a totally random woman in the play! An interpretation is an interpretation, I guess...
Harrock n roll
#7 · Posted: 3 Mar 2005 23:05
After a further search I found it mentioned that Geoffrey Case had made “adaptations of Herge’s Tintin, including Tintin’s Great American Adventure and Tintin and the Black Island, all for the Unicorn Children's Theatre.” This certainly implies there were more.

Excellent photo, nice find Richard!
#8 · Posted: 4 Mar 2005 00:09
Great discovery! Ranko doesn't have quite the same awe-inspiring presence as the book...
UK Correspondent
#9 · Posted: 4 Mar 2005 00:15
I agree ! He looks more like he'd enjoy a nice cup of PG Tips than attacking Tintin or throttling Snowy.
Harrock n roll
#10 · Posted: 4 Mar 2005 00:19
More Jocko than Ranko I'd say...

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