REVIEW: Islander – A New Musical

ISLANDER new musical

A small yellow tent with circular stacked seating is the perfect intimate venue for the gorgeous Scottish Musical, Islander. It’s been smashing out five star reviews left right and centre, and I can completely see why.

It’s an ethereal and mythic story set on a tiny Island where everybody knows everybody. One young girl in particular has an extra ordinary day when she finds a whale calf washed up on the beach. Not long after a mysterious girl appears with an unbelievable tale that might just bring two worlds together.

Another tear jerker of The Fringe was You and I. And don’t forget Six is another show that reinvented the musical format.

It’s a breath of fresh sea air

The story is intriguing for sure, but it’s the sound that gave me the chills. The two leading ladies live record and layer their voices using a mixer machine on stage. The contemporary Scottish folk music is like a lullaby.

Bethany Tennick and Kirsty Findlay’s harmonies are pitch perfect. They are able to recreate the most magnificent sounds from wild storms to a lonely whale and an islander knees up. It’s so fresh and different.

Building the community

Both ladies expertly moved in and out of roles with ease. From an old man obsessed with his garden gnome, to a joker grandma and angry pregnant lady, these roles were key in building this world. Where a small community is dwindling but still have their own everyday dramas to contend with. The sounds are layered but so is the story.

And a lot does lie on the technology. There was a slight tech issue on my viewing, which they were able to resolve smoothly. I also sometimes struggled with understanding their strong accents as I need to read lips to make sense of words, but that would be the case with any show in the round.

Either way, this production is really quite magical. It’s funny, quirky, touching and full of life. I can’t recommend it enough.

Islander truly breaks the mold. It’s sold out for the rest of the Fringe but I hope it tours the UK soon. Everyone deserves to have a taste of this real treat.


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