Caroline Horton
Bush Theatre


Caroline Horton has created one of those self-indulgent plays that to some may be reminiscent of the efforts of theatre-addicted children.

Not only is she the writer but also the main actor, going so far as to take the role of her far from brave new world's megalomaniacal ultimate deity, albeit re-named Mary for the occasion. The only surprise in such an arrangement is that she has permitted someone else to direct.

The publicity material made much of the idea that Islands would be an incisive and possibly coruscating work attacking those that seek to save taxes. The thesis was likely to be that they do this at the expense of the rest of society, depending on one's moral viewpoint.

In fact, despite a handful of sound bites delivered by influential politicians from both sides of the Atlantic and the occasional outraged outburst by a character, that topic occupies only a couple of the evening's 100 minutes.

The remainder of the time we are left to observe the goings on in a twisted, grubby contemporary recreation of the creation.

Haven is an empty swimming pool floating 30 feet above "Shitworld". There reside Adam and Eve, a couple of such limited combined intelligence that they would be supported by Haven's Care in the Community policies, were there a community to care.

They are joined to the duration by leering goddess Mary and her two androgynous but musical acolytes.

This quintet sings quirky songs and delivers innumerable disjointed sentences about not much at all in silly voices.

The resulting presentation comprises a performance that had some audience members laughing to a considerable degree. Others availed themselves of the opportunity to pop outside, safe in the knowledge that having done so they would not be readmitted to the auditorium.

If the subject of tax avoidance by multinationals or the unbelievably wealthy appeals in the week that world leaders in Davos will be skiing and almost certainly trying to find a better solution that any to date, do not be fooled into heading for Shepherd's Bush.

Who will derive most from Islands? Miss Horton seemed to be relishing her time in the double limelight and those of a similar mindset will undoubtedly find themselves enjoying the unorthodox humour that will pass many others by.

Reviewer: Philip Fisher

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