The title captures some of the offhand cynicism of Adam Brace's play, which predates Stovepipe, his drama about a missing mercenary in the Middle East. In this work, a trio of naive writers goes on a British Council trip to a former USSR republic in Central Asia, an unstable and poverty-stricken country. Their disappearance gives the British ambassador and his staff a big headache.
The writers go to a British-owned uranium mine to witness an execution, it being a favourite site for the local warlord when he and his army want to mete out rough justice. The embassy has turned a blind eye to this thuggish activity in order to further its own interests in the region, but with the writers' lives in danger, the ambassador is forced to confront Gerry, the British manager of the mine, and ask for his co-operation.
Brace's play is intelligent, often provocative, and there's no doubting his talent as a writer, nor his ability to explore mendacity in public and private relationships. But while this is highly watchable, the structure feels more tricksy than illuminating, and the writing is sometimes too sharp and shiny, lacking emotional layers. It's as if everything is on the surface and there's not much bubbling underneath.
It's telling that the actors, who play three roles each, are sometimes very good and sometimes quite bad, suggesting that the quality of the writing is uneven. If Brace would probe deeper, perhaps it would feel as if there were more at stake, dramatically and morally.
Until 19 December. Box office: 020-7503 1646.
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