The Pitcairn Islands were one of the Pacific Islands made famous by the The Bounty, and its mutineers led by Christian Fletcher.
Historically, Europe was in political turmoil with the monstrosities of the French Revolution threatening the stability of Britain, so the mutiny on the Bounty almost represented a microcosm of the desire to overthrow established order.
Fletcher dropped anchor at the idyllic island of Pitcairn, whose inhabitants still live the innocent lives of children and thus represent to Fletcher's mutineers an earthly paradise free from internal strife and political ambition.
But in Richard Bean's play, directed by Max Stafford-Clark for Out Of Joint, a much respected experimental theatre group not often seen in Malvern, with insight and diligence, we are given a play which is both irritatingly confused and in dire need of re-shaping, yet interlaced with moments of sheer delight.
In fact we begin to realise that this a paradise soon to be blown apart by two sets of invaders, the English sailors who see the islanders as sexual conquests and the Tahitian contingent who have followed the sailors and now long to get back to Tahiti.
The evening opens with a fine set where a huge back wall of rock frames a silhouette of the Bounty, which will soon go up in flames, and where a large downstage rock formation provides a playing space for the actors.
As the play gathers space, murders are instigated, sexual jealousies force peaceful men into brutality and what we saw originally as a kind of new Eden disintegrates into horror.
Some of the writing is fine, but there is a distinct unevenness and confusion to long passages of the dialogue, which leaves you wondering at times how people who hadn't purchased the excellent programme and its notes on the history of Pitcairn managed to sit through the evening in a state of full comprehension.
The actors are consistently good and make sense of the script in a way which is admirable. They show us sexual mayhem which invaders from Europe have always created whenever they have disturbed innocent communities, and they wear tattoos in the Tahitian manner, which grow increasingly complex as the evening advances. In a delightful moment they also knock up a smart Polynesian war dance which is convincing and unique in my experience.
Running time is two hours. The play runs until Saturday, November 22.