April, 2000.

The Island of Dr. Moreau. Globalstage. 1999 118 min. $27 (pp)

Ages 10-adult. This stage adaptation (by Seattle's Taproot Theatre) of H.G. Wells' science fiction novel is exceedingly well done. Edward Prendick is rescued from a shipwreck and cast off to a mysterious island with Dr. Montgomery and his cargo of animals. The island is home to the experimental laboratory of Dr. Moreau, an exiled London scientist. Eventually, Prendick becomes aware of Dr. Moreau's questionable experiments with animals and raises questions of humaneness, ethical behavior, and religion. The conflict between civilized behavior and basic instincts results in tragedy and an unexpected twist. The small but superbly talented cast and who rely on minimal props carry the tale. Direct camera angles focus on the main action and black-outs between scenes enhance the production's usefulness for classroom discussion. Like other Globalstage productions including the imaginative Playing From The Heart (BKL J1 1999), Professor McNamer and a young companion introduce and discuss the play and interview an actor who discusses the dialects, accents, etc. This excellent production is a showstopping addition to public library and school literature/theatre video collection. -- Debra McLeod