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Team Building - of the Most Challenging Kind!

Esther Taylor (Fay),Sarah Hubbard (Sheila), Cheryl Ryan (Denise) and Jo Banbury (Julie). Photo courtesy of the Priory Theatre.

Sheila’s Island, written by Tim Firth and directed by Stuart Lawson

Priory Theatre, Kenilworth, until 16 September

Review by Sue Beech

It is always a pleasure to visit the Priory Theatre, with its small but charming auditorium, its well-appointed and welcoming bar, its efficient front-of-house staff, and its talented pool of players and directors – not to forget the invisible team back-stage and the ingenious set-designers and builders. This visit was no exception.

Denise and Julie get out of their wet clothes. Photo courtesy of the Priory Theatre

Sheila and her three team-mates, Denise, Julie, and Fay, are participating in a company team-building exercise over the weekend of Bonfire Night. It is hard to imagine a more disparate team, or a less likely team leader than Sheila – even the rest of the women are puzzled as to how they elected her!

Julie tries to contact her husband for help. Photo courtesy of the Priory Theatre.

The play opens with their arrival on an island in the Lake District – soaking wet and not in the best of humours. Denise (Cheryl Ryan in her Priory debut) rages about her lost rucksack, while Julie (Jo Banbury, another Priory debutante) is proud she managed to keep the team’s phone dry and Sheila (Sarah Hubbard) tries to make light of their situation. Fay (Esther Taylor) wanders in from a different direction, and the team is complete.

As they review their ‘progress’, euphoria at being ahead of the field slowly changes to despair as they realise that they are stranded with little hope of immediate rescue, and that Sheila’s tortuous interpretation of clear instructions has taken them in totally the wrong direction.

Fay appears from the bushes. Photo courtesy of the Priory Theatre

During the rest of this long weekend, there is comedy, largely supplied by the contents of Julie’s capacious rucksack, terror, cold and hunger, and potential tragedy, as we learn about Fay’s fragile mental health.

Congratulations to all involved in this engrossing production.

Tickets and further details:


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