Isle of Muck had a good deal of promise. The writing had promise, the cast had promise. Unfortunately, I don’t think it managed to deliver on that promise as much as it could have.
It’s hard to put my finger on what was off about this play. It seemed to have lot trouble deciding what it was or what it wanted to say. The dialogue was peculiar and not peculiar in an appealing way. So often, a line, or exchange, or even a whole scene would leave me thinking “Okay, sorry, what was that?”. Characters had a habit of announcing how their feelings without any prompting or generally making out-of-the-blue statements or reveals that had been given no appropriate build up. Maisie suddenly being rich just at the plot-appropriate time was one such moment
That cast were a little hit and miss but there were undoubtedly some strong performers in there, Anna Fenton-Garvey did a valiant job with the odd dialogue she was given as Maisie and manages to make the somewhat flatly-written character genuinely enjoyable to watch with her performance. Sophie Graham was a delightful character actress and something of a chameleon in the roles of Ma and Gladys. It helps that those two characters were some of the better and more consistency written in the play, and Graham did a fabulously funny job with them. The same is true of Alex Jenn as January; although his character was amongst those who suffered from unclear motivations and characterisation, Jenn brought him to life with enough bright-eyed sincerity to make it an fun watch.
I feel like The Isle of Muck was trying to make a point to me, but what that point was I’m still not sure. The script, I’m sorry to say, needs some heavy revision, particularly in regard to dialogue and character, but there is something there. I can see it, rather buried in amongst the clumsiness, but it is there, and anywhere there is potential, there is work worth doing, and I hope they do. Their enthusiasm is such that they deserve to make this play work, and when they do, which I’m confident they shall, I’d like to see it.