It’s a sad fact of 21st century life, but people don’t any longer really trust anyone or anything to do with the finance industry. Patrick Marlowe’s new farcical comedy is a bang-up-to-date four-hander. Two of the characters are thoroughly committed to the itchy-tricky business of moving other people’s money around. One is Adam, played by Marlowe. There’s a lot of “the old Adam” in this particular manipulator, as soon becomes clear.
Adam’s life centres on his multiple smartphones. He’s a frustrated thespian, so has a different voice for each of his clients - and manifold persona to match. He’s inherited the investment consultancy business from his father, along with the backroom lynchpin Celia, a lady just toppling over into middle life. Celia’s trouble (just one of many) is that she quite fancies Adam. He, on the other hand, is in hot pursuit of Emily, a much younger, very sexy mini-skirted redhead.
Martin Robinson’s set for the first act is divided between the office and a nearby Italian restaurant favoured by both Celia and Adam. It’s run by Alfredo, on the surface a bundle of near-operatic Italian neuroses. For the second act we are in Adam’s Docklands bachelor pad - and that’s when things start to get really complicated. Celia, Alfredo and Emily all arrive at Adam’s invitation. His trouble is that he absolutely doesn’t need them all at once.
At this point, you think you know where it’s all heading, but it doesn’t quite work out like that. Marlowe has written himself a peach of a part (which is fair enough) but the other three characters are much more than mere feeds. Harry Gostelow is very funny as the apparently accident-prone Alfredo, Stephanie Day’s Emily radiates sex appeal and Nicola Goodchild makes Celia into a credible business-woman with a back-story which takes time to emerge. Director Abigail Anderson ensures that the comedy spins along at a fast and increasingly furious rate.