Reviewed by Cate Norris
Have you ever wondered if the Gods are playing tricks on you? Perhaps nobody knows that feeling better than poor, orphaned, peasant girl Ti Moune. All she wants is to find her love and it seems her prayers have been answered when she discovers a boy, named Daniel, who has crashed on her island. Ti Moune nurses Daniel back to health, against the advice of her parents. Papa Ge, the God of Death, tries to take Daniel, but Ti Moune begs for his life to be spared in place of hers. Papa Ge agrees and Daniel is returned home to his people. Ti Moune asks her parents’ permission to follow Daniel and they reluctantly grant it, realising that she is in love. The God of Earth, Asaka, guides Ti Moune to Daniel where she continues to take care of him and they fall in love. Unbeknown to Ti Moune, Daniel is betrothed to another, she is understandably heartbroken and encouraged by Papa Ge to end Daniel’s life rather than lose her own. Will the influence of the God of death prove too strong or can love truly conquer all?
Although this was an amateur production, consideration to set and costume could have improved the performance. Other than the Gods’ very obvious change of costume, there was little to support other transitions between characters and locations which was a little confusing. In addition, it was often difficult to hear the cast when they were speaking their lines, however, projection was great on sung lines. There were quite a few timing issues, but in places it was seamless. Similarly, in parts, discipline was great, with cast members maintaining their characters whilst not speaking, but at other times they slipped. Generally, the whole standard improved in the second half. The music was superb and there were some consistently strong acting performances from Emma Percival, who played Ti Moune as well as Eric Hastilow, who played Papa Ge. Additionally, Sadie Derbyshire brought a highly energetic stage presence, as well as an outstanding vocal performance.
A favourite scene was Papa Ge coming to take Daniel. The intrusion followed a very endearing and gentle collaboration between Daniel and Ti Moune. The contrast is very dramatic and works fantastically. Another great scene was Asaka (Leah Yates) and ‘Mama Will Provide’. This was a catchy and lively number that got the audience buzzing. Overall, this was a great story told by a promising young company.
Tickets cost from £6.50 to £9.50 (booking fees may apply).
Once On This Island is at the Lichfield Garrick Theatre from 17-18 May 2017, for more information or to book tickets visit www.lichfieldgarrick.com or call the box office on 01543 412121.
Lichfield Garrick Theatre, Castle Dyke, Lichfield, WS13 6HR | 01543 412121