Overcoat sees Gogol's 1842 short story of the
life of a meek government clerk brought up to date, relocating the
action to the offices of an Edinburgh-based multi-national bank,
introducing a love interest for the hero, Akaky McAky, and turning
the story into a condemnation of Western capitalism.
cast present Akaky's tale with admirable energy, each actor taking on
a wide range of characters over the 50 years or so that pass between
his unremarkable birth and ignominious death. But energy alone is not
enough to make this piece's clichéd characters, formulaic plotting
and lazy, undercooked humour enjoyable, or even really watchable.
Overcoat calls itself as “a deeply acerbic and
irresistibly funny satire”, yet offers nothing but the broadest and
most simplistic of swipes at bankers, contenting itself for the most
part with tired gags about the habits of oligarchs and climaxing in a
bizarre rap about the economy.
last 10 minutes of the show, there's a stab made at a serious
message, with the tedious, overplayed humour of the rest of the show
thankfully laid to one side. After holding his tongue for almost the
entirety of the play, Billy Mack, who plays Akaky, ultimately speaks
up to offer a sensitive portrayal of a lonely man for whom nothing
has ever gone right. At this point, however, it's too little too late
and the change of tone, rather than providing a neat contrast to the
high spirits of the majority of the show, as was presumably intended,
is simply jarring and makes the show drag to a disatisfying close.