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By Dave Massey twitter.com/BrumHour
This production contains strong language and explores strong themes surrounding mental health.
Review: Sheila’s Island at The Old Joint Stock
⭐⭐⭐⭐A fun and dark comedy
Directed by Daniele Sanderson written by Tim Firth
Sheila (Susan Graham), Denise (Dru Stephenson), Fay (Sarah Ratheram) and Julie (Kaz Luckins) have taken part in a team treasure hunt which has gone very wrong. The boat they have used in the game has broken down by an island presumably in the Lake District.
The characters are drastically unprepared for their situation and immediately one of them has lost their backpack. As the play unfolds we learn more about their middle management jobs, plus the fact they don’t seem to know each other all that well.
As corporate teambuilding sessions go this has a dark comedic tone to it and exploring these people through their dangerous situation is rewarding.
The three-sided set at The Old Joint Stock’s top floor theatre space is fully utilised, stones are placed underfoot with trees along the walls and even something which looks like a four-foot tree stump lurks in a corner. Or is it a makeshift pulpit from an outdoor church?
Religion, faith, mental health and the importance of planning are all explored liberally and even the most throwaway plot point is woven into the story.
I found the characters easy to relate to, with their everyday language and their sense of time immediately blurred, was it a Friday afternoon or Saturday? How long would it be before they were missed? Why wasn’t a search party after them sooner? and would they ever be found?
As an ensemble piece each actor gets a chance to shine and full credit to everyone involved for taking a risk with this quirky and intimate production. The intense soundscape also makes the audience feel they could close their eyes and be anywhere.
A fun and dark comedy, Shelia’s Island is at The Old Joint Stock until 14th October with limited tickets available. Book here: oldjointstock.co.uk/whats-on/sheilas-island.