This Island's Mine - Edinburgh Fringe 2019 Review (Italia Conti)

Photo credit: Italia Conti


The ensemble Italia Conti’s 2nd year actors brought nothing short of genuine theatrical magic to the Fringe this year. Highlighting themes of sexuality, racism, love, regret and acceptance, Italia Conti’s production of Philip Osment’s 1988 classic (performed only months after his passing) sensitively addresses the socio-political issues of Thatcherite Britain in a style that feels both fresh and true to the original source material.

A masterpiece of ensemble storytelling, Italia Conti brings a brilliantly talented and diverse cast to the Fringe to portray Osment’s characters in a way that makes them feel completely genuine, never once letting their performances stray into the territory of caricature. The cast appear on stage at all times, even when there is only one character in the scene, and yet never does the stage feel overcrowded or distracting from what the audience is supposed to be focussed on. Background characters either stand perfectly still in moments of tableau during points of narration, interact beautifully with one another to add some vibrancy and life to the scene or contribute musically via on-stage piano, violin and guitar (a feature that didn’t once feel gimmicky.)

Each cast member's main character is as polished the last, and it is clear that director Sue Colgrave went into great detail with each of the multiple characters Osment introduces throughout the plot. Their portrayal of both familial and romantic relationships pulled on my heartstrings in particular, and I am stunned to see this level of maturity from these young people.

The pacing was consistently good and the scene changes were slick, which kept momentum during less interesting moments in the script. Despite each cast member having to perform numerous accents (due to the trans-atlantic nature of the play’s interwoven plot), the vast majority were believable and rarely proved distracting.

Whilst the quality of a performing arts school’s Fringe productions are bound to differ from year to year, Italia Conti simply struck gold with their production of “This Island’s Mine” and I cannot wait to see what they bring next year.

Verdict: ★★★★★

“This Island's Mine” ran from the 12th to the 17th of August at theSpace @ Niddry St - Lower Theatre (Venue 9)

https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/this-island-s-mine

By James McConnell


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