A company of 40 tells a story which journeys from Jamaica to Britain, through the Second World War to 1948 – the year the HMT Empire Windrush docked at Tilbury.
Adapted for the stage by Helen Edmundson, Small Island follows three intricately connected stories. Hortense yearns for a new life away from rural Jamaica, Gilbert dreams of becoming a lawyer, and Queenie longs to escape her Lincolnshire roots. Hope and humanity meet stubborn reality as the play traces the tangled history of Jamaica and the UK.
Needed, and important, and excruciating to watch in a majority-white audience with slurs hurled about with increasing abandon
Andrea Levy’s story of first-generation Jamaican immigrants in postwar Britain has been skilfully adapted and staged with hurtling energy
A gripping state-of-the-nation epic
Fragile intimacy in a passionate engagement with the past
Lavish and moving stage adaptation of the late Andrea Levy's great novel about the Windrush generation
A vast ensemble cast of more than 40 actors populate it with stirring conviction
Gripping story of Windrush generation has kept its power
From a novel dealing with the past, Norris, Edmundson and Levy have given us a play for today
Although the tale is rather plodding, the characterization is vivid if a touch stereotyped, especially in the numerous comic moments
Andrea Levy’s novel of arrivals and departures becomes a sweeping romance
Wonderfully performed if tonally misjudged adaptation of Andrea Levy’s acclaimed novel