THEATRE REVIEW: Islands ★★★
By Caroline Horton
Warwick Arts Centre
19th November 2014
Commisioned by Warwick Arts Centre, and prior to its London run at The Bush Theatre, Caroline Horton's brand new production, Islands, a show about a place called Haven, with an Adam and Eve joining the land of eccentric characters, has been touring for two weeks whilst still in the work in process stages. The director, Omar Elerian, also spoke beforehand saying that this was in fact still being worked on, so the performance we would be watching was very unique in the fact that there would be some tweaks that would not have been their the previous showing, or indeed the one next.
The show felt very cluttered, with a lot going on at the same time and not giving you time to stop and think for the majority of the performance, which lasted around 100 minutes. Though saying this, it didn't necessarily mean it was a bad show. I felt like this, along with the crazy and mad, eccentric characters, were a vital ingredient into making the show.
Credit must be given to the set and costume designer also for creating aspects of the performance that would not of made it what it became. The clothing had a real gritty feel to it, with a lot of interesting mix and match clothing, and the set had some very random props situated around it, for example plungers, a mattress and wet floor sign. All this was rested on a tile flooring, like you may find in a toilet, and the sewer on stage also gave the show a real disgusting feel, and being so close to the action really made you feel part of the production, especially when the actors interacted with the audience.
There was also live music and vocals in the performance which made it feel alive, and the songs used fitted very well with the themes being portrayed on stage. The way that they showed a rape scene near the end was also taken upon very seriously and shown in a dignified way by all involved on stage.
Overall, Islands left me leaving with a lot to think about and get my head around what I had witnessed in the 100 minute production. It was the sort of play that I had never watched before, but was shown on stage in an extremely creative way.