The Island

There is an intriguing opening to The Island at the Cervantes Theatre. It fully embraces the title of the play by Juan Carlos Rubio in this translation by Tim Gutteridge, directed by Jessica Lazar, but its significance as a metaphor for their predicament becomes apparent only as the story unfolds. It works well as a prologue, creating a sense of mystery as to what might follow.

Engaging with creditable performances

The two-hander is focused on the relationship between Ada (Rebecca Crankshaw) and Laura (Rebecca Banatvala). They met when Ada was 35 and Laura only 20, but have now been together for fifteen years. They sit in the hospital waiting room for news of their son Samuel, whom Ada carried, courtesy of a sperm donor. He was born with a damaged brain and has now fallen out of the window of their 7th floor apartment.

At this tense moment in their relationship, conversation becomes increasingly stressful as a range of often difficult subjects and issues are brought under the spotlight. The most awkward to confront is whether they really want Samuel to survive or whether his death would open up the prospect of a new life that no longer had to deal with his challenging behaviour, would offer greater freedom and the opportunity to work on repairing their faltering relationship. Ada’s faith in God, with whom she communicates on close terms, seems not to rule this out. Laura is less convinced, however, but then her mind is occupied by handling her parents and dealing with another lover she believes to be a secret.

Laura’s a cop; though why we need to know this is not really explored. Ada’s distanced approach to children probably stems from her years as a teacher, though she loved her dealings with them. Crankshaw displays the greater maturity that might be expected in such a relationship, while Banatvala still seems very young, given the years that have passed. Apart from an accident with a gin and tonic it would be interesting to know more about what drew them to each other. Indeed, the writing has plenty of material but there is little depth to its exploration.

The Island is engaging with creditable performances, but remains aloof rather than moving. There is no sense of feeling anything at the emotional level for either character and likewise for their son.

Reviews by Richard Beck

Marylebone Theatre

The Government Inspector

★★
Park Theatre / Park Theatre London

A Song of Songs

★★★★
The Lantern @ ACT

Six Characters in Search of Pirandello

★★★
Grania Dean Studio (Lantern Theatre @ ACT)

RANK.

★★★★
Multiple Venues

Far From Home Close To Love

★★★
Jermyn Street Theatre

Laughing Boy

★★★★

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £1.7m to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now

Performances

Location

The Blurb

Juan Carlos Rubio is a Spanish scriptwriter, director and playwright.

Born in 1967 in the town of Montilla in the province of Cordoba, after graduating in Textual Interpretation from the Royal School of Dramatic Art, he acted in theatre productions and television series. He also presented the television competitions 3, 2, 1… contacto and Enróllate.

Since 1992 he has been writing television and film scripts, and was nominated for the Goya Award for Best Original Screenplay for Retorno a Hansala (2008), by Chus Gutiérrez. He won the Silver Biznaga Award for Best Screenplay at the Malaga Spanish Film Festival 2010 for Bon Appétit by David Pinillos. His plays have been premiered in several American countries, such as Peru, Chile, Puerto Rico, Costa Rica, Argentina and the United States. In Europe, his plays have been premiered in Germany, Switzerland, Greece, Slovakia, the United Kingdom and Italy. The production of Las heridas del viento, premiered in New York, was nominated for five ACE awards from the Asociación de Cronistas del Espectáculo, including Best Show.

Most Popular See More

Frozen the Musical

From £36.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Lion King

From £35.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Matilda the Musical

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Play That Goes Wrong

From £27.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Moulin Rouge! The Musical

From £30.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Mousetrap

From £30.00

More Info

Find Tickets