Neville's Island

Rebecca Varidel
12th Jul 2017

The Chasers themselves admit they aren't actors, they are comedians, and to be honest their performances in Neville's Island, now playing at the Ensemble Theatre, show it.

It's not the first time that The Chasers have been involved in performances at the Ensemble. Earlier in 2016, the troupe's Chris Taylor and Craig Reucasse starred in the first Mark Kilmurry production, the Ensemble coup of David Williamson's Jack of Hearts. 2017 sees these two joined by fellow Chaser Andrew Hansen as the bulk of the middle of the road, middle income, mid-level managers stranded together overnight.

The 90s play Neville's Island by Tim Firth was rewritten in 2013 and then some. And while the play has mostly stood the test of time, it is in fact the new local content that cracks the laughs in this Sydney audience.

Yet while Neville's Island stars this trio of comedians, alongside actor David Lynch as foil, it is so much more than just a black comedy. Scripted into the depths of isolation is a questioning of middle class values and of deeper beliefs of love faith and hope. These would be heavy without the comedy and although sometimes somewhat submerged by it, it's still there for those that want more.

Actually, The Chasers heighten it. The tightness, the timing between them is evident. You can see they have worked closely for many years. They know how to wait, to pause, to hold the moment. There's a freshness they bring to the stage that says Sydney Theatre Now. This script becomes worthy entertainment in their hands and voices. The value proposition offered by the mineral water company managers increases. Then add Lynch. It must have been daunting coming into the existing group, somewhat similar to the outsider that always struggles to fit into a team building exercise such as this. Yet Lynch too rises admirably to the challenge.

Neville's Island is on at Ensemble Theatre, Kirribilli until Saturday August 12th.

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