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.
From a novel dealing with the past, Norris, Edmundson and Levy have given us a play for today
Gripping story of Windrush generation has kept its power
A vast ensemble cast of more than 40 actors populate it with stirring conviction
A gripping state-of-the-nation epic
Wonderfully performed if tonally misjudged adaptation of Andrea Levy’s acclaimed novel
Andrea Levy’s story of first-generation Jamaican immigrants in postwar Britain has been skilfully adapted and staged with hurtling energy
Andrea Levy’s novel of arrivals and departures becomes a sweeping romance
Although the tale is rather plodding, the characterization is vivid if a touch stereotyped, especially in the numerous comic moments
Lavish and moving stage adaptation of the late Andrea Levy's great novel about the Windrush generation
Fragile intimacy in a passionate engagement with the past
Needed, and important, and excruciating to watch in a majority-white audience with slurs hurled about with increasing abandon