WINNER: NODA Best Regional Drama 2008
A COMEDY IN THICK FOG. A comedic exploration of the benefits of the business outward bound course and how relationships can be changed forever by a weekend away in the country. Four out-of-condition, middle-aged businessmen sent off on a team building exercise in the Lake District succeed in being the first people ever to get shipwrecked on an island on Derwent Water. Bound in fog, menaced by wildlife and cut off from the world, this perfunctory middle-class exercise turns into a carnival of recriminations, French cricket and sausages. What should have been a bonding process for Gordon, Angus, Roy and Neville turns into a muddy, bloody fight for survival. Because when night settles in, strange things happen out in the wilds. And what took place on Neville's Island that foggy November weekend none of this particular middle-management team would ever forget...
Cast and Creative Team
Gordon | Paul Wilson
Neville | Phil Simcox
Angus | Kim Harris
Roy | Chris Kemp
Radio Cumbria Presenter / Ferry DJ | Ross Lowe
Director | Barry Taylor
Designer | Kim Harris
Lighting | Geoff Harcula
Sound Design | Barry Taylor
Website Design | Paul Wilson
Promotion | Phil Simcox
Production / Costume Co-ordinator | Julia Allsop
Stage Manager | Lucy Heath
"...the talented Fourblokes Theatre Company..."
A comedy from the dark side
Edgy comedy is the genre which the Fourblokes Theatre group like best. In fact, they thrive on it, according to the group’s director/ performer Barry Taylor.
“We set out to make a memorable impact and have found that plays which teeter between dark comedy, bursts of light-hearted humour and some hard-hitting truths really keep the audience on the edge of their seats'” he said. “We also add our own twist to each production and much thought goes into the sets and music. We never go for the obvious choices.”
Fourblokes was created in 2005 when its founding members, Barry, Phil Simcox, Kim Harris and Paul Wilson spotted a niche for professionally produced shows, which are not bound by the needs of large casts.
All four already had many years of stage experience and affiliations with other amateur drama and musical societies under their belt but, they jointly decided the time was ripe to create something a little bit different.
Barry explained that the group has a core cast of just four male actors. This restricts the choice of play they can stage but, they have additional members who are invited to participate as and when scripts demand it. This allows them to select carefully for each role.
The group has already won two regional drama awards. One for its production of Bouncers in 2006 and another for Blue Remembered Hills in 2007.
It hopes to repeat that success next month with the staging of Neville’s Island – Time Firth’s dark comedic exploration of business outward bound courses and, how relationships can be changed forever by a weekend away in the county.
“A fair description of this play would be a meeting of the Ricky Gervais comedy, The Office, with Lord of the Flies.” said Barry. “It’s definitely edgy.”
Derby Telegraph | Wed 8th October 2008
Take four managers from a water company, put them in the Lake District and see how they get on overnight. Sound like a teambuilding excerise? You’re right, and it’s the basis for the latest show from the talented Fourblokes Theatre Company.
Neville’s Island, written by Tim Firth, is set back in 1994. Neville (Phil Simcox) has been appointed the leader of Team C for their two-day assessment which hasn’t got off to the best of starts as he’s managed to sink their boat and they find themselves marooned on a small island on one of the lakes.
Everyone has their own misfit story, and with no let-up in the thick fog, no food, little shelter and shortening tempers, Gordon, Angus and Roy’s character traits head for the surface in what could be catastrophic ways.
Simcox, along with Paul Wilson, Kim Harris and Chris Kemp, does well to convey the comedy and pathos contained within the script, but there is a pacing issue which could be addressed by cutting some of the dialogue. That said, it’s a great set, good lighting and a smoke machine earning its money that sees both the cast and the audience working through the fog.
Not as good as the last outing for Fourblokes, this is still a production that shows Derby companies aren’t afraid to try new things, and for that they should be applauded.
Andy Potter | Thurs 9th October 2008