Toxic Bankers is marketed as a new musical comedy set in London's Square Mile. Whilst it is new, has songs, and has amusing moments – unfortunately, it is ultimately forgettable.
Writer/Director Andrew Taylor and Composer/lyricist Desmond O'Connor have tried to write something that will satirise the world of corporate banking, hedge funds and investment and it's a good idea as this world is ripe for a good kicking through the power of song.
The plot follows Tony who runs a supposedly ethical hedge fund company, but the reality is quite different: he is a greedy workplace bully, scamming his customers to line his own pockets and hiding the evidence. He is found out by numbers whizz (but emotional mouse) Fiona, who wants to do something about it, but doesn't want her colleagues to suffer.
Meanwhile the firm has employed Professional Liberty, a concierge service, to enable the workforce to dedicate more time to their jobs. However, they are merely a front for an anti-capitalist group who are trying to infiltrate the company.
Whilst the seven actors and four musicians involved work hard and sing well, there is simply not enough depth to the piece to maintain interest. The characters are two-dimensional, meaning that there is no reason to either identify with or empathise with any of them. The plot, although grounded in possibility, is so badly constructed as to alienate anyone watching who does not understand the intricacies of the financial world.
Overall, while it is possible to see what the producers of this brave show wanted to achieve, the term toxic applies to more than the banking.
- Helen Jones