Kidnapped, Robert Louis Stevenson’s adventure-classic is touring to Perth Theatre from Wednesday 3 to Saturday 6 May. 

This swashbuckling new production from the National Theatre of Scotland, adapted by Isobel McArthur with Michael John McCarthy, premieres at the Beacon Arts Centre in Greenock in March 2023 before touring to Glasgow, Edinburgh, Inverness, Perth, Newcastle and Brighton.

Kidnapped is a colourful new take on Stevenson’s historical novella about David Balfour who leaves home for the first time and must grow up fast to solve a family mystery and take revenge on an evil assailant. This vibrant production is a coming-of-age romcom for today, which celebrates the poetry, humour and heart of Stevenson’s writing.

Co-created by Isobel McArthur and Michael John McCarthy, writer and musical supervisor of the Olivier award-winning Pride & Prejudice* (*sort of), Kidnapped is packed full of 20th century pop music and 18th century romance, all performed by a dynamic ensemble of actor-musicians.

Davie Balfour will be played by Ryan J Mackay, who was most recently seen on stage in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, and he will be joined by Malcolm Cumming as Alan Breck Stewart, familiar to Scottish audiences from the acclaimed James IV: Queen of the Fight, (Raw Material and Capital Theatres, in association with National Theatre of Scotland) which toured Scotland in late 2022. Kim Ismay will be playing Frances, and is perhaps most familiar to audiences for playing the role of Tanya in the West End production of Mamma Mia, and Madame Morrible in the international and UK & Ireland tours of Wicked.

They will be joined on this adventure by a talented ensemble including: Christina Gordon, who will be reuniting with Isobel McArthur and Michael John McCarthy after her run as an original cast member of Pride and Prejudice* (*sort of), for which she was nominated for a Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role; David Rankine who is a Scottish actor most recently seen in the revival of the National Theatre of Scotland production of Rocket Post, which featured song arrangements from Michael John McCarthy; Danielle Jam, who recently worked with Raw Material, Capital Theatres and National Theatre of Scotland as one of the lead roles in James IV: Queen of the Fight and will be reunited with her James IV co-star Malcolm Cumming in Kidnapped; Grant O’Rourke has done extensive work in theatre, television, film and radio, and is most familiar to Scottish audiences for his role in Outlander, and more recently, Shetland; Isaac Savage is an actor, musician and composer who will joining the ensemble as the Performing Musical Director for Kidnapped, and last year was the Performing Musical Director for Cinderella at Dundee Rep; Karen Young is a Scottish actress, recently appeared in Cinderella at Dundee Rep; Fatima Jawara was most recently seen as the titular role in Eastern Angles’ Christmas production of Little Red.

“I don’t believe it…...I finally have a chance at a decent future – and my only surviving relative pays to have me knocked unconscious and forced onto a knackered old boat by a load of bloody… Pirates!”

19-year-old Davie Balfour has never left home, never been kissed and never fired a gun. Armed with nothing but a hand-drawn map, he heads off on an adventure like no other – quickly realising that he has a lot of catching up to do. The production follows Davie on a journey of eye-opening discovery as he navigates murderous foes, Jacobite outlaws and the most inept crew of pirates this side of the Atlantic.

This version of Kidnapped reframes the relationship between the central characters Davie Balfour and Alan Breck Stewart as a romance, which is played out through their adventures across the Lowlands and Highlands of a Scotland still reeling from the aftermath of the 1745 Jacobite rebellion. Robert Louis Stevenson's wife, Frances, an American writer who supported her husband throughout his writing, also features in the production in the role of a spirit guide to the protagonist.

The music - performed live - is arranged by Michael John McCarthy and will include well-loved songs including denim-clad Americana, late 90s love songs, art rock, protest anthems, 80s synth-pop, Gaelic folk song and more.

Isobel McArthur is an Oliver award-winning actor, director and playwright. Her plays have toured the UK and been performed internationally. Her five-star West End adaptation of the classic novel Pride & Prejudice* (*sort of) is currently on tour across the UK. Previous work for National Theatre of Scotland as an actor includes Edwin Morgan’s Scots language

Cyrano De Bergerac (with Citizens Theatre) and as writer/co-director of The Quiz! (with BBC Scotland) as part of Scenes for Survival.

Michael John McCarthy is a musician, sound designer and composer for stage and screen. He has worked on over eighty theatrical productions and has collaborated on the making of ten Scotsman Fringe First Award winners, most recently The Last Return by Druid Theatre Company. He is the musical supervisor & co-sound designer on Pride and Prejudice* (*sort of), winner of the 2022 Olivier Award for Best Entertainment or Comedy Play, and his previous work for National Theatre of Scotland includes The Cheviot, The Stag, & The Black, Black Oil, Rocket Post and In Time O’ Strife.

Isobel McArthur and Michael John McCarthy – Kidnapped co-creators said:

“In Kidnapped, there seemed to us to be more of Stevenson the man, his beliefs and experiences, than in any other of his works of fiction. His deeply romantic view of being human, his attempts to hold onto a sense of innocence and wonder at the world, his lust for travel, his attraction to glamour and physical strength… they are all here! In this novella, Stevenson asks what it is to be Scottish, to be in in love, to be a grown-up – all through the telling of a historical tale, full of humour, heart and song. It’s a true adventure story – where body and soul are put through their paces – to, by turns, thrilling, moving and humorous effect. We just couldn’t pass it up.”

Kidnapped was originally written as serialised fiction in the magazine Young Folks from May to July 1886. The novel first appeared in book form from Cassell and Company in July 1886 and has since been adapted several times with numerous versions for film and television. Edinburgh born Stevenson based many of the characters and events in the much-loved classic on actual people and places. Principal characters Davie Balfour and Alan Breck Stewart are celebrated in a 15-foot-tall statue by Alexander Stoddart situated on the outskirts of Edinburgh near Corstorphine Hill, with many local streets taking their name from locations and characters in the novel.

For tickets and information for Kidnapped in Perth Theatre from Wednesday 3 until Saturday 6 May, click here, contact the Box Office on 01738 621031 or visit in person (10am - 4pm, Monday to Saturday).

Monday 17 April 2023