Neville’s Island

What happens when four out-of-condition clueless middle managers are forced on the outdoor awayday from hell? The City Adventurers headed to the Queen’s Theatre in Hornchurch to find out.

Socially distanced

The website assured us there would be socially distanced seating throughout the run of this production, so we tapped in our credit card details and looked forward to a trip out; our first trip back to the theatre in nearly two years.

When we enetered the theatre we had our tickets checked hands-free and our temperatures taken. Then we scanned the trace-and-track QR code at the door. the bar and cafe were not open, but you could request refreshments at your seat via an app or by attracting the attention of the ushers. True to their word, the seating was socially distanced, with clear spaces all around us. Audience members were required to wear their masks, except when enjoying a drink or ice-cream obviously.

queens theatre snack menu - photo by Juliamaud
queens theatre snack menu – photo by Juliamaud

Neville’s Island Plot

Shipwrecked, wrapped in thick fog and cut off from civilisation with one cold sausage between them, Gordon, Angus, Roy and the hapless Neville‎ arrived on Neville’s Island after shipwrecking their boat and losing one of their rucksacks. The four actors arrived on stage ringing wet and began discussing what had gone wrong and what to do next. First priority was to get out of their wet clothes obviously, so they had to distribute what dry clothes they had between them and get changed on stage. A bit like trying to change on a beach with towels in strategic places.

What followed was a lesson in how not to succeed at a company awayday as the four men experienced the misadventure of their lives and learnt a lot about themselves and each other in the process.

The first act was funny, but the second act took a darker turn. Still humorous in places, there was a sense of a decent into madness as the men wrestled with hunger as well as each other. The fear of being cut off from normal life and being abandoned was palpable.

The ensemble cast were fantastic. All embodied their character well and held their own with no-one outshining anyone else.

Sean Michael Verey plays Neville, the manager elected leader for the task. The island they wash up on is therefore “named” after him. Stephen Leask plays Roy from accounts who loves bird watching. Beruce Khan plays Angus, who carries the groups equipment. Philip Cairns plays Gordon, who gives the impression he would have made a better leader than the others put together.

Neville’s Island by Tim Firth was on from 20 May – 12 June 2021 and is on from again 22 June – 3 July 2021 at Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch. Tickets available at https://www.queens-theatre.co.uk/whats-on/show/nevilles-island/

queens theatre 2021 - photo by Juliamaud
queens theatre 2021 – photo by Juliamaud

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