Black RAT have been striving to bring quality existing comedy drama to developing audiences in Wales, touring enjoyable productions of well-tested accessible scripts and actors in an attempt to pack out theatres in towns across the country. For this autumn season, they bring us Calendar Girls’ writer Tim Firth’s popular black comedy, Neville’s Island.
Telling the tale of four middle-aged, middle-management males shipwrecked on a rocky island in the Lake District after a training day goes downstream without a paddle, we see their careers and relationships hit the rocks along with their boat as cold, hunger and paranoia kick in. The single-set production physically puts its cast to the test from the domino of visual gags in the first scene and the four men are drenched, starved, covered in mud, blood and at the mercy of carnivores. Granny will also get some bonus gasp-a-go-go cheap thrills as at least one bum cheek flashed.
Gareth Bale (Richard Parker) plays to form as another acerbic, eternally grumpy bachelor all-at-sea without his duvet and waterside luxury apartment. Keiron Self (My Family) also returns to hapless form as a cuddly-jumpered Angus, armed to greet all eventualities of the wild with name tags, freezer bags and a really big knife. Early on, describing films of a similar premise, Angus correctly predicts how things will play out, forecasting confessions and showdowns before their rescue plane comes and, with some deliciously dark twists thanks to Peter Brad-Leigh’s doolally number-cruncher Roy, so it does.
Miners' Institute, Blackwood, October 11, then touring until November 17
- Cast includes:
- Running time: