The latest offering from the Abbey Theatre Club is at once hilarious and deeply horrifying for men of a certain age.
Their production of Tim Firth’s ‘Neville’s Island’ is a delight to behold, but one that at times can leave you feeling deeply uncomfortable when you realise that the characters on stage are not that far removed from yourself.
Without giving too much away, the audience join Neville (Kain-Jack Yuille), Gordon (Jim Shaw), Roy (Gordon Holder) and Angus (Alan Johnston) on a failed team-building exercise that has left them stranded with almost no supplies on an island in Derwent Water.
The group are your typical band of middle managers, each starts off a stereotype, the ‘intellectual’, the mouthy one, the oaf and the ‘too nice’ one. But as events play out these identities crumble to reveal something deeper and a little darker.
Yuille continues to strengthen his reputation as a budding young actor within the Abbey Theatre Club with his depiction of the tries-too-hard Neville who has been thrust into a position of responsibility he really isn’t ready for. We sympathise with Neville, but inside we all know this is all his fault and that each of us have all made similarly catastrophic errors.
Shaw is spot on as the caustic Gordon. His off-colour comments and sharp jokes a manifestation of his own fear that only serves to drive a wedge between the group and drive them all a bit closer to the edge.
Bumbling, but well-meaning oaf Angus, is brought to life by Johnston. Constantly trampled on by his peers and his unseen wife, he overcompensates in other areas, and there is an undercurrent of passive-aggressiveness which bubbles to the surface dramatically.
Perhaps the most complex character, Roy, is played by Holder, a placid individual whose time on the island is perhaps the most transformative. Think Colonel Kurtz but with a nice line in hymns and a proper chance at redemption.
Special mention must go to Alan Christison for his infuriatingly cheerful DJ!
‘Neville’s Island’ itself is a gem, from the treetop lookout to the pebble beach, the set builders and painters should all be applauded.
Producer and director Brenda Reid should be rightly proud of her band of un-merry adventurers. ‘Neville’s Island’ runs until tomorrow (Saturday) with tickets £7 from 01241 872609.