Writer: Simon Longman
Reviewer: David Doyle
Simon Longman offers an insightful if bleak look into the lives of three teenagers in a town everyone wants to leave. Cleverly constructed in a circular fashion, the piece explores what happens when the ring road becomes your horizon. Although primarily focused on the lives of Sam, Pete, and Kate, played wonderfully by Charlotte O’Leary, Jack Wilkinson, and Katherine Pearce, the show becomes an exploration of the generational impact of an environment plagued by a lack of opportunity.
Framed within the confines of the Roundabout playing space in Summerhall, the claustrophobia of a town without an exit route becomes all the more present in this production and that is no bad thing as it is that exploration of lives dominated by an ever-shrinking horizon that is most interesting in Longman’s writing. The bleakness of Island Town’s own horizons is ever present with its characters caught in a loop of hopelessness inherited and repeated through generations. It is that generational inheritance that seems to be at the heart of Island Town but it’s an exploration which feels like it’s only really beginning as the play ends.
It is a shame that the exploration of the circular nature of generations in towns like the one depicted in Island Town isn’t explored more deeply for it’s this exploration that is most original. This idea allows for a more universal understanding of situations like Island Town and those bound by ring roads and circumstances in towns without hope of escaping. Despite this Island Town remains a well-crafted and interesting, if not ground-breaking piece, which explores stories not frequently enough seen on stage.
Runs until 26 August 2018 | Image: Rebecca Need-Menear