There are a number of productions that one does not contemplate on what the playwright is attempting to convey within their work, as well as the repelled nature during the entire performance. The Bush Theatre’s recent play of Caroline Horton, ‘Islands’ was one that is disgracefully grotesque, also the characterisations were dreadful.
‘Islands’ is set in an uninhibited swimming pool, which has now been distorted into a kind of a wasteland to depict an abnormal perception of tax havens. We are introduced to Mary, a peculiar woman who appears to revel in her own self-importance, alongside her frustrations to those who will not conform to her domineering commands. Her associates, Agent (John Biddle) and Swill (Seirlol Davies), who confidently dress in drag give the impression that they are malevolent to a degree, additionally, they seem to be a sort of marketing tool to illustrate the power of money. However, Mary acts as a reassuring individual who will endeavour to make new people enormously peaceful and welcome into the commune, this is shown through married couple, Adam (Simon Startin) and Eve, in the biblical sense allow their greed to emancipate as they are blissfully unaware that their new environment is bursting with sinful consequences . Eve begins to comprehend this and argues with Mary that the circumstances of these activities and lifestyles that she has become pressurised into is deplorable and legitimately dishonourable, as such she decides to rescue her dignity and leave this so called island of paradise. Conversely, this verdict is at a cost as her husband, Adam has to remain behind, Mary is repulsed by her disloyalty and explains that she is a factor to a corrupt society that avoids paying tax on a majority of items that they own. In addition to this, it becomes obvious that Mary’s obsession will inevitably lead to gargantuan mockery for all those outside of the commune, and as Eve re-emerges from her cursed life, she revels in Mary’s ultimate destruction. Horton’s narrative is bafflingly ludicrous as one could not understand the reasoning why she has written a piece of theatre that does not challenge its themes whatsoever. Furthermore, the plot is confusing and tedious, and increasingly vulgar.
One found the performances by the company of ‘Islands’ to be discreditable and categorically unfunny. Caroline Horton is despicable as the creepy, Mary; chiefly when she cannot even formulate a cohesive argument as to why she’s living in an abnormal and abandoned swimming pool. Her vocal work and movements were poorly executed too. Hannah Ringham is tragic as the eerie, Eve; exclusively when she tries to describe the undignified lifestyle choices that Mary and her two sidekicks are living under.
Omar Elerian’s direction is monstrous here as he presents a play that enables you to become nauseated throughout the entire performance, and conclusively walk out as it’s mind-numbingly dull and depressing. Oliver Townsend ‘s design is exceedingly unflattering as there does not seem to be an actual explanation as to why certain objects are in its position, as well as, the in the round staging formation is questionable as it does not work at all. Overall, one found the experience of ‘Islands’ to be a catastrophic one and not at all a positive representation of the Bush’s prestigious work and not a recommendation fundamentally,