Reviewed by Sue Ellis of the Eckington Leader
Set on Rapsholme Island at Derwent Water in the Lake District, 'Neville's Island' is a fast talking comedy.
Set in thick fog, it tells the story of four middle aged business men who have been sent on a team building exercise one very cold, miserable weekend in November and who succeed in finding themselves to be the first people shipwrecked inland.
The men, used only to fighting for survival in the office now find themselves fighting for survival in the wild, armed only with a single mobile phone.
As hunger takes hold they discover they have only one small cold sausage between them which had been smuggled out of the hotel that morning.
But there are other problems as they sense something else on the island and as the night draws in the losers of the group become heroes and the logicians become increasingly lunatic.
Gordon (Drew Davies) is the loner who uses comedy to attack his team mates, whilst Angus (Richard Parkinson-Brown) is the over-organised perfectionist, who gradually changes to a man questioning his own conformity. Neville (Andrew James Drummond, making his debut with the City Players) makes desperate attempts to smooth over all the problems having been elected team leader and Roy (Phillip Hadley) is the very troubled Christian birdwatcher, who gradually becomes the focus of attention.
This production by the City Players was unusually atmospheric with a marvellous stage set designed by Andrew Francis. Evocative sound effects and lighting added to the audience's appreciation of the cast's excellent performances as an ensemble and individually - each of them combining pathos and comedy in equal measure.
Making their directing debut Margaret Thompson and Mike Parkinson-Brown did a superb job adapting this very successful West End stage play, which has also been adapted for television by its author, to a smaller stage.
Ellis, Susan. "Foggy island comedy is a clear winner". Eckington Leader, Nov 2010. Print.