Note: This review is from the 2018 Fringe

“Because I don’t think you’ll care about me at the end. If I tell you what I’ve done. I don’t think you’ll care about me.” The opening lines to Island Town are confusing and intriguing. Kate (Katherine Pearce) stands centre stage. A spotlight is focused on her and a subtle droning sound plays in the background. It is a striking start to an interesting and bold performance. The layout of the performance space adds to this menace and intrigue. Island Town takes place at the Paines Plough Roundabout venue in Summerhall. The stage is to the centre of the venue and the audience are sat around the edge. Katie looks like she in on trail and the 70 minute performance is her opportunity to admit to her guilt and explain her predicament.

Island Town is written by Simon Longman and follows Kate and her friends Sam (Charlotte O’Leary) and Pete (Jack Wilkinson) as they grow up in a small town and dream of escape. The extreme measures they go to in order to escape contribute to the conflict of the play and the tragic plight of Kate. Island Town is beautifully performed and succinctly captures mundane life in a small town when you are a teenager. We follow the three youngsters as they make fun of one another, dream about the future and make the usual teenager mistakes when it comes to love and relationships. As Island Town progresses, so do the relationships on the stage. We follow the trio as they grow up and drift apart. Fractures constantly appear and the moody lighting (from lighting designer Peter Small) and sound design (by Dominic Kennedy) add to this disconnection. 

The cast fully express the dark psychology of the characters and draw the audience into their complicated and dark world. On the surface Island Town seems like an everyday coming of age story. But if you scratch the surface there is a complex and deeply arresting narrative that asks questions of friendship and childhood ambition.