The Internet Theater Magazine of Reviews, Features, Annotated Listings








Etcetera and
Short Term Listings


NYC Restaurants


New Jersey







Free Updates
Writing for Us
A CurtainUp London London Review
Neville's Island

"You know some people laugh at jokes Angus. You don't. You wait around at the end with a pillow and suffocate them." &mdash Gordon
Neville's Island
Cast in Neville's Island (Photo: Johan Persson)
In an elaborately forested set that looks pretty enough to be a woodland scene from The Lord of the Rings, four men on a corporate team building exercise find themselves marooned on an uninhabited, isolated tiny island in Derwent Water, in the Lake District. Their boat sank after hitting rocks and t hey have no way of contacting the organisers of the training camp. All four men are middle managers at a mineral water company based in Salford.

As the men arrive on stage having swum to the island, they release vast amounts of water from their sleeves and trousers before deciding to change into dry clothes. In true school trip to the swimming baths style, they wind towels round their midriffs and struggle out of the wet underpants and wriggle into their dry clothes. This is a scene full of physical comedy which I thought was delightful.

Neil Morrisey as Neville, the elected captain, is the most grounded of the four and tries to stay positive. Miles Jupp as Angus has packed everything bar the kitchen sink into his rucksack but forgotten to charge his mobile phone. Robert Webb as Roy has found Christianity after a breakdown and camps up a tree watching for rare birds. Adrian Edmondson's Gordon is the most sardonic and destructive.

Looking at this situation we can speculate that the plot will either develop into The Lord of the Flies or Deliverance. In fact the second act turns into an altogether darker comedy as all four men suffer from hunger and see no sign of any rescue mission from the organisers of the Outward Bound experience. As Angus has left a message asking his wife to contact the hotel where they were meant to spend the night, the lack of rescue seems to imply that his wife might be enjoying herself elsewhere. Gordon, for whom this exercise brings out the worst, taunts Angus and Angus's insecurities come to the surface.

Robert Innes Hopkins' gorgeous woodland set has part of the lake onstage and the front row of the audience are supplied with plastic sheeting to keep themselves dry as the cast splash in the water.

This play has to be set in the 1990s before the whole world had mobile phones or at least they need to be in a no reception area. The comedy does have a slightly dated feel to it although all four actors are excellent at characterisation. There are also some wonderful jokes, especially in the first act. After rigging up a makeshift flag out of an orange plate and a branch, they discover that Angus has flares packed but as it is Bonfire Night, the competition from adjoining firework displays means the emergency flare will go unnoticed.

The second act is weaker than the first as the playwright hasn't encouraged us to care about what happens to his characters but I laughed a lot in the first act.

Subscribe to our FREE email updates with a note from editor Elyse Sommer about additions to the website -- with main page hot links to the latest features posted at our numerous locations. To subscribe, E-mail:
put SUBSCRIBE CURTAINUP EMAIL UPDATE in the subject line and your full name and email address in the body of the message -- if you can spare a minute, tell us how you came to Curtain Up and from what part of the country.
Neville's Island
Written Tim Firth
Directed by Angus Jackson

Starring: Robert Webb, Adrian Edmondson, Neil Morrissey, Miles Jupp
Designed by Robert Innes Hopkins
Music: Isobel Waller-Bridge
Lighting Design: Howard Harrison
Sound: Paul Groothuis
A Chichester Festival Theatre Production
Running time: Two hours 20 minutes with an interval
Box Office: 0844 871 3051
Booking to 3rd January 2015
Reviewed by Lizzie Loveridge based on 21st October 2014 performance at The Duke of York's, St Martin's Lane, London WC2 (Tube: Charing Cross, Leicester Square)
Highlight one of the responses below and click "copy" or"CTRL+C"
  • I agree with the review of Neville's Island
  • I disagree with the review of Neville's Island
  • The review made me eager to see Neville's Island
Click on the address link E-mail:
Paste the highlighted text into the subject line (CTRL+ V):

Feel free to add detailed comments in the body of the email . . . also the names and emails of any friends to whom you'd like us to forward a copy of this review.

London Theatre Walks

Peter Ackroyd's  History of London: The Biography

London Sketchbook

tales from shakespeare
Retold by Tina Packer of Shakespeare & Co.
Click image to buy.
Our Review

©Copyright 2014, Elyse Sommer.
Information from this site may not be reproduced in print or online without specific permission from