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SJT Presents Neville's Island "Like You've Never Seen it Before"

Neville’s Island

The cast of Neville's Island have been busy rehearsing a brand new staging of Tim Firth’s hit comedy at the Stephen Joseph Theatre.

The theatre revives the play by the award-winning writer of Calendar Girls and This is My Family for its celebratory 60th summer season which recently saw the opening of Alan Ayckbourn’s Confusions.

Neville's Island follows four misfit businessmen who succeed in being the first people ever to get shipwrecked on an island in Derwentwater. Following its world premiere at the Stephen Joseph Theatre in the Round in 1992, the play was nominated for an Olivier Award for Best Comedy and has since been adapted for film and staged across the world, launching Tim Firth to international success.

In a bold, new staging of the production which plays at the SJT, Scarborough from August 6 to 27, SJT Associate Director Henry Bell is set to revamp Neville’s Island "like you've never seen it before".

It’s a bloody, muddy fight for survival when a team building exercise goes hilariously wrong and office politics play out in the wilderness of the Lake District.

Director Henry Bell says:
"If you've ever worked in an office you'll relate to these characters - from the quietly caring Neville to the sarcastically obnoxious Gordon, Roy the office weirdo and Angus, bless him, the annoying puppy of the group. Anyone that has been in an environment - school included - where power dynamics are at play will laugh at and with the characters in Neville’s Island."

Bound in fog, menaced by wildlife and cut off from the world, the obligatory middle-class exercise turns into a carnival of recriminations, French cricket and sausages. Because when night settles in, strange things happen out in the wilds and what takes place on Neville’s Island one foggy November weekend, none of this middle-management team will ever forget.

In this first revival by the SJT, Henry Bell also returns to a favourite read from his boyhood.

He says:
"I've loved Neville's Island ever since reading it in the library of my sixth form college - even though the phrase hadn't been invented yet, I 'lol'd repeatedly. It also stayed in my teenage brain for some time; as someone that had been bullied quite a lot, the darkness of the characters and the darkness in the play really affected me. Fifteen years on, I like the play even more. I think it's a modern classic, full of depth, humour and variety."

"In the SJT's 60th anniversary season, I'm honoured to direct this piece of Scarborough literary royalty and also very keen to present this play as a fresh piece of work, bringing out the depths and nuances that are at the heart of Tim Firth's writing. Lucy Weller's bold design means that this is Neville's Island like you've never seen it before."

The cast features Daniel Crowder (The Safari Party, SJT; The Mousetrap, West End) who takes on the title role, Craig Cheetham (The Offence, Channel 4; Stone, Radio 4) makes his SJT debut as Gordon, Jamie Chapman plays Roy (Extras, Nan, BBC), and John Last appears as Angus (Chicken Shop, London Park Theatre).

Neville’s Island can be seen in The Round at the SJT from Thursday 6 to Thursday 27 August. Tickets, priced from £10 to 24.50, are available from the Box Office on 01723 370541 and online at www.sjt.uk.com.

SJT Presents Neville's Island "Like You've Never Seen it Before" Reviewed by Editor on 19:07:00 Rating: 5

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