Wickies: The Vanishing Men of Eilean Mor [Review]

Image Source: Park Theatre

It was a chilly Friday evening as we finished our bodega bought samosas next to the Finsbury Park tube station, and headed over to the Park Theatre to welcome December with a play. We didn’t opt for one of the many Christmas Carols versions available this year, instead we chose a good old-fashioned real-life inspired, ghost story: ‘’Wickies: The Vanishing Men of Eilean Mor’’. Intriguing huh?

Lately it feels that nicely executed thrillers are hard to come by, so we were very glad to find that someone took the risk of making one and carried it out successfully too. In a sentence, the play was a very careful production that almost gave the feeling of watching a well-crafted film. Definitely a must see anytime of the year. 

So let’s break it down, shall we?

The atmosphere was enchanting. A combination of impeccable stage lightning and sound effects elevating the minimalist set. We won’t reveal much about this but just imagine the contrasting experience of hearing turbulent natural elements blowing outdoors while you casually prepare a warm cuppa to save your soul. Our suggestion? Consider adding an artificial smell of coffee or some actual broth in the plates as this would would create a realistic feeling and send the atmosphere over the roof.

There was an obvious level of mastery in the movement of the actors around the stage. As the whole play unfolds in a lighthouse situated in a desert island, many things are left to the imagination of the audience. Of course, this automatically raises expectations for nothing less than excellent acting. This is exactly where well – seasoned professionals like Ewan StewartGraeme Dalling and Jamie Quinn stood out. We could have watched them for hours with our untrained ears trying to make out the words from their pleasingly addictive accents. The moment where they shined was during the execution of some challenging harmony rich songs that occupied a significant part of the play. Not only did the three men sang beautifully but these scenes also served as soothing intervals creating a process of bonding and a spirit of camaraderie. These lyrical breaks effectively disrupted the tension that prevailed over most of the scenes between the three men and their contrasting personalities, essentially striking a balance between elements of harshness, inwardness and calmness. 

Thinking that probably most people have not spent time in an isolated island away from civilisation, the songs also highlighted the crucial role of sounds and music as a way of self-care, in conditions of extreme isolation where the wilderness of the scenery mixes with the untamed side of one’s self.  

Moving towards the final part of the play, there were a few scenes where time period and people alternated, however the set up and the cast didn’t. This switch was slightly confusing and required us a few seconds to realise, something that might have been prevented with a quick change of coats or the addition of some identifying object, such as a clock or a calendar.

Last but no least, we cannot ignore the theatre itself! Park Theatre is a modern space boasting a cosy foyer and two bars that tempt you to sit down for a drink regardless of whether you have tickets for a play or not. Overall, an enjoyable night that kicked off our December theatre crawling; definitely watch their website for more new and older productions.

Tip! When booking keep in mind that the very rear circle seats can be limited in leg stretch and personal space. 

Location: Park Theatre, Clifton Terrace, Finsbury Park, N4 3JP.

Dates: 30 Nov – 31 Dec

Official Production Trailer

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