Theatr Clwyd, Mold – Saturday 16 October 2021
Reviewed by Julie Noller
Theatre is rolling and doing what theatre does best; it’s entertaining and educating. This Island’s Mine is a small intimate affair, perfectly suited for its small set. An audience of under 30 patrons many of Primary School age. The concept may well be lost if the audience was too large, thanks in equal measures to the covid rulings for those small groups.
Interesting facts first, Roustabout the Bristol based theatre company who in early 2020 worked with 195 primary and secondary school pupils. They combined the thoughts and opinions of those pupils along with history in the form of William Shakespeare s The Tempest. This Island’s Mine explores issues from colonialism to identity. Right from the start you are encouraged to believe nothing, question everything.
Written and Directed by winner of the Distinguished Play Award, Tony Hulse.
Only 3 cast memembers increases the intimacy, making the message easy to follow. I think it’s apt to use message rather than storyline.
Robin Hemmings is Caliban who was born here
Kesty Morrison is Ariel who has always been here
And Eleanor Pead is Stephano who has just arrived and loves the word civilisation.
The reason I gave 4 stars? It’s brilliantly written, funny with great musical numbers maybe not in terms of big stage but each carries a message and gives us a break to collect our thoughts. Speaking of thoughts it is clever in the way you can predict whats happening, yet shows us all for our lack of empathy for strangers, manipulation is a trait that comes easily to most of us, much to our shame. There’s many questions we leave pondering. Such as; who truly owns an item? If I own a pen then it’s mine but if I lose the pen and someone else finds it then is it now thiers?
My understanding on each of the characters, Ariel is Mother Earth, every fable, every fear or belief she is the representaion of our inner most being.
Caliban is the peaceful local who knowing no differently leads a happy life of existence. Then along comes the newcomer on one hand the bringer of revolution and civilisation. New technology changes Island life. Stephano the manipulator, uses his so called knowledge to self proclaim his intelligence over the stupid Caliban. But then wait Caliban simple life lover blurts out that Stephano is not local, shouldn’t be on the island and should go back to Italy. Ugly words we have all heard yet somewhat hard to swallow seeing them acted out this way. This argument you wonder how those under 10 will react, what is their understanding? If This Island’s Mine is used as a tool to help parents and teachers to raise and discuss these issues then Toby should be very proud.
It’s not all thought provoking there is fun, watching children jump as a scary figure, manifestation of a boggy man or simply Ariel in mask and some crutches might have made me smile but you have to ask could it be toned down for the mostly young audience? Or watch a young girl trying to lick her elbow, which I feel much bring much satisfaction to our 3 actors. Children watching are able to move about freely if they wish. Snacks are plentiful. More importantly like the many voices expressing their beginnings, their belonging. I truly pondered Who I Am? Where have I come from and just what and where do I call home. My answers may well be different to yours but that doesn’t make them wrong or even right. It makes me unique, it makes me… well me