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Neville’s Island

I loved the concept of this play, which took four distinctly out of condition individuals and sent them on a company team building exercise.  The outcome was both extremely funny, and at times very moving.

I found myself laughing out loud, and then feeling upset and almost tearful, a good combination, making for an interesting evening.

The set was interesting, I liked the lookout rock and the way it was used, it gave a different level to the production.  Lighting was good, creating the different elements of time.

Sound effects were mostly good, a shame that Roy fell off the rock twice on the night I was there, but things that aren’t supposed to sometimes happen!  The effect of the fireworks etc were very good.

I liked the very different characterisations from the cast, in line with what Tim Firth had no doubt envisaged when writing this piece, which was expected, but which they carried off very well.  I enjoyed the animosity and occasional moments of empathy – all creating a nicely rounded production.  

Neville, the appointed leader, was played in a kind of world-weary manner by Robin Langer.  I got the impression that he wasn’t a natural born leader, which was probably why he’d been selected by the unknown powers that be, and his slightly bumbling approach to life, thinking he knew it all with his blatant misunderstanding of the first set of clues, led to the situation the four men found themselves in.

Neville stepped up occasionally but not always – leaving others to hopefully cover for him.  Nicely played Robin.

Jonathan Field as Gordon, created an antagonistic and angry man – the type that always thinks his opinion is the only one.  I ended up really wanting someone to take him down a peg or two for his unthinking ranting.  A good characterisation, although I wanted a few moments of occasional calm for Gordon within the forcefulness of his character.

Angus, the nerd of the group – coming prepared for every eventuality at an enormous cost – was well-played by Bruce King.  A little more projection at times would have added to the overall portrayal, as I missed the meaning in a few places.  I think probably the best I’ve seen from Bruce recently.

Steve Leadbetter as Roy, the final member of the group, got the real essence of a man who had been tied to his mother’s apron strings, and his guilt at the eventual decision to allow her to die.  I felt his interest in birdlife was a reaction to that, and his confusion at the life around him was both amusing and disturbing.  I also felt there were times when Steve could have played the confusion card with a little more emphasis, but a good portrayal as always.

First time Director, Robert Naylor Staples, had done a good job, he used his cast well, and the set allowed them to move around fairly easily.

A good job from all involved, I really enjoyed the production, so nice to have something that is amusing, whilst having a darker side.

Wheathampstead Dramatic Society


Review date: 13th October 2016

Memorial Hall, Wheathampstead

Director: Robert Naylor Staples


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