The Islanders @ Underbelly Big Belly
Part storytelling, part confessional and part music, The Islanders is an interesting mish-mash of styles put together by writer and performer Amy Mason and Art Brut frontman Eddie Argos. The show is, essentially, a document of a trip the two took, during a teenage love affair, to the Isle of Wight, but through both Mason’s storytelling and music from Argos and folk musician Jim Moray, it serves to deeper analyse the nature of that relationship.
Many peoples' teenage years are filled with the kind of troubled relationship that The Islanders documents, making the show instantly relatable. The relationship-based discourse, and how it affected both their lives, can get pretty serious at times, but Argos and Moray are on hand to lighten things up with a combination of original songs and intriguing interpretations of songs from Art Brut’s second album It’s A Bit Complicated…, that, whether they were written with Argos and Mason’s “teenage crush” (as they put it in the show), in mind, lend themselves perfectly to the story.
It’s a very simple premise, with the three performers on the stage accompanied only by a projector screen, a collection of overblown postcards to their past selves and Moray’s guitar, but it’s one that works, and upon leaving The Underbelly it’s hard not to cast your mind back to your own teenage years, and relate to the story The Islanders tells. Amongst the figurative sea of performances throughout the festivals, The Islanders' charm, simplicity and story help it to stand alone.