Friday, August 15, 2008


I come temporarily out of retirement, dear reader, to encourage all and sundry to see Nevaland (where boys do grow up) by Castoffs 2, a part of the Edinburgh Fringe this year.

The story begins in Nevaland.  Peter Pan is off to Kensington to spend the Summer with Wendy.  Before leaving, he warns the Lost Boyz not to grow up...

Is Nevaland a real place?  A figment of our imaginations?  A place of escape?  If the latter, one wonders, by the end of the piece, if the place one escapes to is sometimes worse than that which one has escaped from.

The star of the piece, Matt Flory, takes his character and her companions through a world of confusion and turmoil exposing the real reason for their arrival in Nevaland, greeted every time by Tink Da Bell.

Largely Forgotten enters Nevaland's Got Talent in the hope of finding someone and losing the pain of an alcoholic wife-beating Father behind him.  Tiga finds love in the arms Bunny Boy, her soldier.  But will she be forced into a loveless marriage?  Will Bunny come home alive?  Will Wen-Day be able to keep her family together?

These questions and many more are answered in Nevaland; the audience member carried along on a roller-coaster ride of tragedy and comedy; the characters facing many forms of abuse, domestic violence, honour killings, alcohol, drugs, and growing from child into adult.

As ever, Castoffs have the ability to bring social issues to our attention using humour without being stupid or silly and calamity without being patronising or clichéd.  Each and every member of the company are enthusiastic, eager and a joy to watch.  They continue to go from strength to strength.  Always sure that they cannot beat their performance from the previous year, I'm always left realising that they have.

The campery, drama and intensity always give me that fit to burst feeling, especially so when Aisha Iqbal launches into her first scene, when Jono McBeth begins to sing and when Matt Flory delivers his lines with brilliant conviction and a knowing look only a true thespian can convey.

Fabulous, five stars.

Nevaland is playing at Augustine's studio, venue 152 from 12th - 17th August at 1615 and from 19th - 24th August at 1145.