Gang Show - Crewe Lyceum Theatre - frontage - by Jonathan White

I’ve always believed that the beauty and magic of theatre is that it can transport you anywhere, writes Claire Faulkner.

And my visit to Crewe Lyceum this week took me and the rest of the audience on an outward-bound team-building exercise to Sheila’s Island.

The comedy by Tim Firth, made me laugh from the very beginning. Like most people, I too have had to endure similar office team building exercises in the past, and they rarely go smoothly.

Although unlike Sheila, Fay, Denise and Julie who make up Team C, I didn’t get lost in thick fog and stranded overnight on an island in the Lake District.

What makes this play work so well is the mix of characters and their interaction with each other.

In the production I saw, Tracy Collier played Sheila.

A positive and strong leader who managed to read simple instructions as cryptic clues resulting in the group getting lost.

Sara Crowe played Fay, a bird watching enthusiast who was also trying to deal with a personal loss and bereavement.

Abigail Thaw gave a great performance as Denise, a character who says what she thinks regardless of consequence.

My favourite character was Julie, played by the wonderful Rina Fatania.

Julie believes in being prepared for any situation, and that includes a trip to the camping shop the week before to stock up on supplies.

After a couple of false rescue attempts and as the hunger sets in, the team find themselves questioning the importance of family and friendships, and wondering why on earth they even agreed to do this.

I found Sheila’s Island to be a heart-warming comedy, the script was clever and witty and it made me laugh.

Ultimately, a story about friendship, survival and optimism.

You can get lost on Sheila’s Island at The Lyceum until April 16.

One Comment

  1. Was looking forward to seeing the female version of the original Neville’s island.

    However, overall disappointing It was difficult to hear, could have been amplified more. The observations and jokes woven into the script were lost. Dialogue at times was high pitched and fast and I felt the timing of the delivery was out.

    This was reflected in quite a flat response from the audience. A good cast but I didn’t buy into the characters they were portraying.

    With the exception of Rina Fatina who, in her role as Fay was believable.

    I didn’t feel some of the content was relatable in 2022 and needed updating.

    On the whole a flat evening at the theatre

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