Previewed 10 October 2014, Opened 21 October 2014, Closed 3 January 2015 at the Duke of York's Theatre in London
A major revival of Tim Firth's comedy Neville's Island in London starring Adrian Edmondson, Miles Jupp, Neil Morrissey and Robert Webb.
Middle-aged, middle management, middle class, middle of nowhere. Four out-of-condition businessmen are sent on a team-building exercise in the Lake District succeed in being the people ever to get shipwrecked on an island on Derwent Water. Bound in by fog, menaced by the wildlife and cut off from the world - what should have been a bonding process for Gordon, Angus, Roy and Neville turns into a muddy, bloody fight for survival.
The cast for this production stars Adrian Edmondson who reprises his role as 'Gordon' from the Chichester Festival Theatre staging. He is joined for this 2014 West End transfer by Miles Jupp as 'Angus', Neil Morrissey as Neville' and Robert Webb as 'Roy'. Directed by Angus Jackson with designs by Robert Innes Hopkins.
When this production opened at the Duke of York's Theatre in October 2014 Patricia Nicol in the London Metro highlighted that "Angus Jackson's production mines comedy gold from its superb cast: a line-up of top, generation-spanning comic talent." Paul Taylor in the Independent commented that "the play is often very funny but there is something a bit ersatz and glib about the expertise with which it produces gales of laughter while efficiently moving towards its final vision of tragi-farcical futility," adding that "there are good verbal and situational gags... but the darker side of the play feels forced and, in the lack of any real after-shock, oddly dutiful." Michael Billington in the Guardian thought that "even if the play tests one's credulity, Angus Jackson's production, Robert Innes Hopkins's design and Paul Groothuis's sound score lend it a physical verisimilitude... Tim Firth makes some sharp points about male insufficiency but I get the sense of a good 90-minute idea being stretched to fill the requisite two-act running time." Dominic Maxwell in the Times highlighted that "Robert Innes Hopkins's set is a wonder, with realistic foliage and a shale beach fronted by a sopping waterfront that enables some genuinely funny, waterlogged entrances... accomplished performances, decent production, some good lines, and a soggy set-up that never really goes anywhere." Simon Edge in the Daily Express said that "the one thing the production undoubtedly has going for it is a fantastic naturalistic set where the cast really do emerge from a chilly lake as they reach the island and the people in the front row are supplied with emergency ponchos to shield them from rogue spume." Henry Hitchings in the London Evening Standard wrote that: "The performances are solid and there's an impressively lush set by Robert Innes Hopkins. Yet Angus Jackson's revival can't obscure the fact that the play is inherently static... while there are some decent gags, credibility is strained as the material grows darker." Sarah Hemming in the Financial Times explained that as the cast "wring out their sodden clothes, Tim Firth's script squeezes plenty of comedy from their hapless quandary. There's much fun in observing office types outside their usual habitat and four fine comic actors nail them enjoyably in Angus Jackson's droll production."
This production was originally staged at the Chichester Festival Theatre's temporary tent venue in September 2013 with a cast that featured Adrian Edmondson as 'Gordon', John Marquez as 'Neville', Tim McMullan as 'Angus' and Rufus Hound as 'Roy'. Neil Norman in the Daily Express said that in "this delirious revival... Angus Jackson's lively direction delivers plenty of laughs without lessening the steadily accumulating tension" while Charles Spencer in the Daily Telegraph highlighted that, "first staged in Scarborough in 1992, and still proving deliciously dark and funny in this cracking revival... I will be astonished if this show doesn't transfer speedily to the West End." Quentin Letts in the London Evening Standard described it as being "An entertaining evening... and a great deal more fun than a weekend of executive paintballing."
"As the four middle managers realise the horror of their plight, much sniping and slapstick ensues. While Tim Firth's 1992 comedy may seem ever so slightly dated, the strength of the performances compensates. Miles Jupp and Neil Morrissey are solid, but it is Ade Edmondson, as morally bankrupt Gordon, who gets all the best lines, and delivers them with the most style. Special mention must go to Robert Webb, who makes birdwatching born again Christian, Roy a heart-rending character." The Sunday Mirror
"The four protagonists play it for laughs during a lot of the first half as they splash about on Robert Innes Hopkins's rainforest of a set. Indeed, it looks and feels very much like Carry On Up the Jungle. Soon, alas, the production comes a-cropper as surely as the four gents from Salford have: it ends up in the wilderness between the compass points of comedy, horror, satire and psychological thriller... This is, of course, an ensemble piece but there is, alas, no sense of ensemble playing: each actor seems to be doing his own thing, and tries to make off with as many laughs as possible, and the result is a bit of a muddle... It feels like a rather feeble comedy sketch that had been stretched out of all recognition into a two-and-a-half-hour play." The Sunday Telegraph
"Despite some amusing jokes, the humour is as predictable as the plot. The characters rarely rise above sitcom stereotypes: Neville, the cheerful pragmatist, Roy, the simpleminded Christian, Angus, the fastidious bore and Gordon, the inadequate bully. It is not Adrian Edmonson's fault that Gordon is so insufterable one struggles to stifle a cheer when he is finally punched. Much of the blame lies with Angus Jackson's direction, which fails to illuminate the text with the same brilliance that Howard Harrison's lighting does Robert Innes Hopkins`s exquisite arboreal set." The Sunday Express
Neil Morrissey's West End credits include Trevor Nunn's revival of Noel Coward's Relative Values (Harold Pinter Theatre 2014). Robert Webb was recently seen playing 'Bertie Wooster' in Sean Foley's production of Bobby and David Goodale's Perfect Nonsense with Jeeves & Wooster adapted from PG Wodehouse's characters (Duke of York's Theatre 2014) and Neil LaBute's Fat Pig (Trafalgar Studios 2008). Angus Jackson's London theatre credits include David Wood's stage adaptation of Michelle Magorian's Goodnight Mister Tom starring Oliver Ford Davies (Phoenix Theatre 2012), Terence Rattigan's The Browning Version (Harold Pinter Theatre 2012), the 'Blondie' musical Desperately Seeking Susan (Novello Theatre 2007) and Kwame Kwei-Armah's Elmina's Kitchen (Garrick Theatre 2005).
Neville's Island in London at the Duke of York's Theatre previewed from 10 October 2014, opened on 21 October 2014 and closed on 3 January 2015.