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Islanders (Re:Play Manchester)

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
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The Library Theatre’s Re:Play festival at the Contact Theatre includes Dick Curran’s Islanders, originally premiered at last year’s 24:7. The play follows the relationship between three people who find themselves working on one of the remote Farne Islands

The central figure is Peter (Mark Frampton) a depressing individual who works as a warden. He predicts a dire future for the human race because of climate change. Peter is rude and outspoken to his boss, Ellen (Claire Dean) and we eventually find out why. In terms of character development, his reversal of attitude seems a bit sudden.

Such is Peter’s character, he would, almost certainly, be rude to anyone, even Nicola (Katy Slater), a sushi-munching townie who temporarily joins him and to whom he is obviously attracted.

The cast interact well and the use of film to portray the wild life on the island is well done. It transports you to a deserted world of puffins and sea birds. I like the use of the music between scenes, though it occasionally overpowers poetic background speech. This is not a depressing production as subtle humour lightens the overall gloom.

On the debit side, Peter’s views are exaggerated beyond belief.  He even suggests culling people to create more space, a suggestion made without emotion.However, the writer neatly ties up the ends by revealing the real reasons for each person’s presence on the island.

Islanders offers audiences an enjoyable hour and it does have a clear beginning, middle and end.

- Julia Taylor


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