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Theatre Review: Lord of the Flies Meets Gilligan's Island

Lord of the Flies Meets Gilligan’s Island

Theatre Reviews Sydney

Neville’s Island

Playwright Tim Firth

Director Mark Kilmurry

Photos by Prudence Upton

Ensemble Theatre until August 12

Reviewed by Ron Lee, CSP

Four businessmen accustomed to the luxuries go on a company team-building adventure and become trapped in the wilds of a Tasmanian island.

How will they cope with hardship, deprivation, starvation and even possible death?

The stress takes the intrinsic personalities of the characters to extremes.

Leading the mix is Neville, the Marketing Manager who is the senior member and was nominated to be team leader. Neville is deliberately positive, optimistic and very concerned. He tries to keep the group motivated and full of hope. It's been about thirty years since I saw David Lynch on stage and it’s reassuring to see that he well and truly still has the chops for it and he has retained that comedic sensibility. Lynch beautifully projects Neville’s outward displays of hope coupled with quiet desperation.

Angus is an anally retentive, kinaesthetic executive who is easily influenced. On the recommendation of a sales person in a camping store, he purchased a multitude of equipment in case there is an emergency of any description. Craig Reucassel as Angus is full of introspection and distraction after Gordon plants an unpleasant image in his head.

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Gordon has had a slow rise to executive ranks; he’s a slogger, not a cruiser to whom everything has come easily, in contrast with Angus’ comparatively rapid corporate ascension. There are remnants of an inferiority complex in Gordon who is short-tempered, easily frustrated, cynical and sarcastic. Chris Taylor is decidedly Basil Fawlty-esque as Gordon.

Roy is a Christian who possesses a keen interest in bird watching. He has some psychological issues that emerge with the growing stress of the situation. Andrew Hansen is effortlessly masterful with his perfect mix of pathos and comedy. I was reminded of Buster Keaton and Stan Laurel.

So what else is in Angus’ backpack? Why was Roy in his underpants sitting in that tree? Where did that pizza come from? What was in Gordon’s lost backpack? Where did all that blood come from? Will the men finally be rescued from the island?

This production was not steered with a subtle hand, and many of the scenes were played very much for the laugh, and somehow it works. Neville’s Island is a fun night at the theatre.

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