By Tim Firth
A Comedy in Thick Fog
The Office meets Lord of the Flies meets Miranda.
Bonfire night 2019 and Sheila, Denise, Julie, and Fay are Team C in Pennine Mineral Water Ltd.’s annual outward bound team-building weekend. Somehow, Marketing Manager Sheila has been nominated team leader, and, using her cryptic crossword solving skills, has unwittingly stranded her team on an island in the Lake District.
As the mobile batteries die, and cold and hunger, take over, our intrepid heroines find themselves called on to manufacture escape routes using cable ties and spatulas, and create a rescue flag with plastic plates and a toasting fork.
Is it possible to build an adequate night shelter with a prom dress and a sleeveless jumper? Is there an I in Team? And do endless verses of Kumbaya really keep up spirits?
Questions are asked; truths are told; dirty washing is aired. Can Sheila keep tempers from fraying, nails from breaking and get her band of top level executives safely back to shore?
What is Julie’s husband really up to in Aldi? What is it that should be never be mentioned to Fay? And why are they on this bloody team building exercise when they could be at a spa?
‘It appears Fay is in some state of undress…she’s sitting in a tree, she’s got an eighteen inch knife and she’s singing the first line from Oklahoma!’
Sheila’s Island is a sparkling, sharp-witted new comedy from writer Tim Firth (Calendar Girls, Kinky Boots, The Band), starring Olivier Award winner Sara Crowe (Private Lives, Calendar Girls, Four Weddings and a Funeral), Judy Flynn (The Brittas Empire, Dinnerladies), Abigail Thaw (Endeavour) and Rina Fatania who won the Best Actress in Theatre category at the Eastern Eye Awards, for her ‘perfect comic timing’ in Love and Stuff at Theatre Royal Stratford East.
Review by Kelly Lacey
Sheila’s Island is a reimagining of Tim Firth’s 1992 comedy play Neville’s Island, adapted for an all-female cast. With a terrific set design by Liz Cooke that really is a character in itself. The show highlights the different personalities of each team member’s reaction to being stranded on the island. Overall they are all very different. I would have liked to have seen some emotional moments in the play. It felt rather like the island at times it was rather cold and withdrawn. Hurried heavy dialogue and jokes that failed to make their mark with the audience made for a few uncomfortable moments.
Tracy Collier (Sunset Boulevard, Hairspray) was utterly brilliant as Julie. With her Mary Poppins style haversack it made for humorous moments throughout the play.
Mental illness is highlighted in the show. However, I do think Julie from Human Resources would be on the case regarding the unnecessary language used throughout to discuss Fay’s “breakdown”. The use of archaic language is unacceptable now but was usual in the 90s. However, it took away from what could have been a human and poignant moment.
The show has great potential with the quality of its cast. With a few tweaks here and there, it could all come together nicely. Overall I feel the show is best suited to an older demographic who may enjoy the 90’s feeling comedy drama.
TUE 01 MAR TO SAT 05 MAR 2022
Evenings Tue – Sat 7.30pm | Matinees Wed & Sat 2:30pm
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