A Small Family Business
From: Friday, 6th June 2003
To: Saturday, 12 July 2003
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In an ordinary suburban house, an ordinary family gathers to celebrate Jack taking over the family furniture business. The interruption by a private investigator trying to arrest his young teenage daughter for shoplifting is Jack's first indication that nothing is what it seems and everyone is using the family business to their own - illegal - ends: his wife resents their lack of creature comforts; his brother is turning a blind eye to the sexual antics of his wife, she is sleeping her way through the black marketeer Rivetti brothers, and her brother is feathering his own nest. As the events of the week gather pace, watch Jack's transformation from innocent abroad to disillusioned wheeler-dealer. Will he succeed, against all the odds, in putting the business back together as a small, decent, honest family concern...First performed at the National Theatre, this hilarious morality play won the Evening Standard Drama Award for Best Play in 1987.
17 June 2003
Never the most political of playwrights, Alan Ayckbourn was left feeling distinctly uncomfortable by Thatcherism. He took an allegorical swipe at it in Way Upstream in 1981 and then came back to tackle it head-on in A Small Family Business, written in 1986 though not premiered until 1987. In this he tackles public morality and how it gets skewed into its precise opposite when exposed to the family values and business imperatives which were the joint pillars of Thatcher's project. From the moment you start nicking the family firm's paperclips you are, says Ayckbourn, on a slippery slope that leads inexorably to throwing in your lot with a Mafia drugs cartel.
Certainly the moral - and dramatic - logic is clear in this tale of Jack McCracken, the small businessman coming in at the age of 45 to take over the family furniture business as his old, increasingly demented father-in-law retires. Unwisely, he makes a speech about the need for absolu...
Latest User Review
USER: Whatsonstage.com (22.214.171.124) - 18 June 2003:
I think this scores as one of the worst theatrical experiences I have had in quite a while. Why did everyone have to shout and screech? Why did we have the eey by gum accents and why can't people learn their lines properly. I found the whole performance leaden, smacking of Brian Rix farce and one that left me wishing I had stayed at home. It was a disappointing event all round and one I would advise to steer clear of....
Gerard Murphy (Jack)
Amanda Boxer (Poppy)
Charlie Hayes (Samantha)