Review: Neville’s Island at the Ashcroft Arts Centre, Fareham

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It’s rare for me to leave a theatre completely satisfied. But I did after seeing this flawless production of Tim Firth’s 1992 play Neville’s Island, by The Portchester Players.

The play opens with four middle-aged work colleagues on a team-building exercise. They are marooned on a sodden island in the Lake District after ‘leader’ Neville (played by the excellent Graham Robertson) capsizes their boat.

Jason Christopher writhes plausibly as the stuffy, wife-loving Angus. He is a man scout who has come prepared for any eventuality with his haversack which seems to contain the entire contents of Millets, from a portable stove to a terrifying machete.

Steve Reading is superbly mutinous as the acid-tongued singleton Gordon, a man who is clearly in need of a good woman.

Bible basher Roy is portrayed impeccably by Mark Harold. He suffers with mental issues, grief and an obsession with a falcon. He was a joy to watch.

There are great gags on the way and it’s a well-executed production. For four actors to have the entire audience captivated from start to finish and in gales of laughter throughout, is admirable.