Direction and Concept by Amy Draper
Book by Stewart Melton
Music and Lyrics by Finn Anderson
Reviewer: Dominic Corr
A thin veil attempts to cover the line between reality and folklore; stories had to come from somewhere after all. Staring out into the sea, Eilidh dreams of the mainland, her mother and being away from isolation. When the tide washes up a stranger, who somehow feels familiar, both of their lives change forever.
There’s this rather colloquial term people like to throw around, calling is a: “hidden gem”. Sometimes, just sometimes there is a need to call upon it. It’s a conjuring production, pushing the imagination of the audience to build-upon the folk-inspiring score.
Now, what’s the use of a musical without impressive vocals? I’m positive many would like to answer this. Islander has gorgeous vocals, Bethany Tennick and Kirsty Findlay possessing a uniquely ethereal nature to their voices.
Vaster than just song, the pair utilise their vocals in a unique concoction of sound effects, though on occasion it takes a while to fully set-up. Where productions have pre-recordings of water drips, waves or merriment, Islander takes the bold direction of live recordings on a soundboard. Instilling creativity, it offers an insight into the make-up of these effects, connecting us to the source of these sounds.
As funny as it is heart-warming, Tennick and Findlay understand the levity of the script, offering versatile characterisations. In balance, when Draper requires, the harder hitting moments bring a seriousness to the production. It’s clever writing, highlighting family, community and the environment without hammering the point in.
Islander embodies a sense of community, a richness in understanding Scottish ties to cultural folklore. This new musical has an ancient soul, a comforting story yet a fresh beating heart of talent.
Runs until 25 August 2019 (not Tuesdays) | Image: Contributed