Southwark Playhouse – until 26 October 2019
What Is It? A hauntingly beautiful musical two-hander set on a remote Scottish Island, using loop pedals and vocal sound effects to build the world of the last child living there.
What Is It All About? On this lonely little island off the coast of Scotland, the last of the children who reside there, Eilidh (one of the many characters Bethany Tennick portrays in the show) finds a baby whale on the shore of her beach, and is able to connect with it through song. Meanwhile, the people of the island are struggling with a decision, whether or not to leave their homes and head to the “big land” where the jobs and security are much greater, but means this handful of farmers would have to leave behind their way of life completely.
As the weather attempts to turn to summer, Eilidh avoids her prankster grandmother and finds a mysterious, new girl down by the water (both played by Kirsty Findlay). Answering to Arran, this mystery girl isn’t a “big-lander” like the townspeople suspected, but is actually “Finn-Folk” a magical group of people that live on a floating, misty island that split apart from Eilidh’s home many years ago.
How Did It Make Me Feel? A glorious fever-dream of a show, weaving the mythical with reality, and building the work of this rain-soaked island beautifully. Vocally, the show is stunning, and both Findlay and Tennick present Finn Anderson’s score with a lullaby-infused ease, transporting the audience immediately to the sea shore.
The inventive use of technology brings a brand new element to the traditional “musical” style, producing all music and sounds with vocals, loop pedals and clever execution of sound. The book by Stewart Melton is an excellent mash up of some of the most familiar characters you will come across, the gossipy neighbour, the town local complaining about his stolen garden gnome, the stern scientist, and the grandmother who has been apart of the community for what feels like an eternity. Amy Draper directs the piece with such a delicate touch, and makes this wonderful piece of theatre soar, sweeping up the audience in its wake.
Anything Else? Touching, heart-wrenching and totally original Islander is the exploration of the turmoil and devastation of small communities in the light of gentrification. Amy x Islander is playing at Southwark Playhouse until the 26th October 2019. If you like my reviews and want to support this blog feel free to buy me a virtual coffee here!