Monday, 15 October 2018

'Islander' Review (Mull Theatre on Tour), September 2018


Close Encounters of the Cetaceous kind – ‘Islander’ –

A Powerful Drama which more people should see

Islander, Jim Love Studio, Eden Court Theatre, Inverness, Sunday 23rd September

Mull Theatre, with Helen Milne Productions, are just ending a whistle-stop tour of mostly small venues across Scotland with the two-hander ‘Islander,’ a truly magical evocation of storm-tossed, passionate lives intertwined with the sea, but under threat, as emigration to the ‘Bigland’ over the sea, and indifferent landlords, bring the community to the brink of extinction. The familiar Highland/ Island depopulation theme – here in a remote mythical land beyond Viking and North Utsire - plays out in an ensuing maelstrom of emotions: young islander Eilidh and mysterious visitor Arran find common cause in fighting parallel threats to land and sea, in entirely recognisable scenarios.

The startling musical boasts the lyrical, atmospheric and dramatic talents of Writer Stewart Melton, Director Amy Draper and Composer Finn Anderson, and is enacted magnificently by two superlative, recently-graduated young performers Bethany Tennick and Kirsty Findlay. This note-perfect team flits easily between a multitude of characters, a cappella singing and balletically-fluent choreography, as they conjure a fabulous – fable-like – narrative driven by the young protagonists’ hope and energy.

Surely, even as this month-long tour comes to an end, and the 2011 piece resumes a position of unjust neglect, further audiences can be found? The piece – particularly in such talented hands as gained rapturous applause in Inverness yesterday - deserves so much more.

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