BBC Radio 4, 23 June 2013
An arrogant young architect Maitland
(Andrew Scott) crashes down a motorway embankment. Fully confident of the fact that he will be rescued, he talks to
the listeners about his future plans and past aspirations. However things do not quite go according to plan: Maitland
finds himself trapped on a concrete island, unable to escape, with only the mysterious Jane (Georgia Groome), and the immensely
strong, if not particularly clever Proctor (Ben Crowe) for company.
Although Mary Peate's production had definite echoes of Defoe's Robinson Crusoe, in terms of its
subject-matter it was more reminiscent of the late Sixties television series The Prisoner, in which another male
protagonist is trapped on an island. Escape seems possible, but increasingly less likely; hence the protagonist has
to learn how to get on with those people around him, however much he might dislike them. While Concrete Island
has a twist in the tale, it nonetheless has a strong morality-play element; as he spends more and more time on his mysterious
island, Maitland experiences something of a character-change, as he learns, however dimly, how to care for those around him.
Sonically speaking, Peate's
production was particularly rich, with some genuinely unearthly sounds being used to create a dystopian world, contrasted
with the banal telephone calls made by Maitland's friends and family in a vain attempt to locate him. Andrew Scott gave
a terrific characterization; for the first third of the drama, he delivered a virtual monologue, as he tried to come to terms
with his unearthly experience.