The Voysey Inheritance, NT Lyttelton, London

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The Independent Culture

Julian Glover's Mr Voysey looks impeccably respectable and serene as he arrives at his reputed City firm of solicitors. In tailcoat and wing collar, he takes a moment to arrange roses from his country pad in a silver bowl: a nice touch amidst all the stacked, black boxes of files. He seems barely ruffled when Dominic West's Edward - his Cambridge-educated, still idealistic son with socialist inclinations - enters weeping and appalled. Having been made a business partner, Edward has just discovered that his father has, for years, illegally speculated with their clients' savings. Mr Voysey's children have unwittingly profited and the old man insists his intentions were good, particularly at first. The speculating was an inherited problem sustained to avoid disgrace and bankruptcy. When the patriach dies, Edward calls a family meeting and declares he's prepared to go to prison to expose and right the wrong but then, persuaded to compromise, he starts trying to correct procedures from the inside.

The Voysey Inheritance tackles economic vice and moral crises - like Ibsen's Pillars Of The Community (another recent NT gem) and Shaw's Plays Unpleasant - while proving to be a domestic comedy too. Peter Gill's production has a few shockingly ropey technical moments. Alison Chitty's luxuriously upholstered sets necessitate lumbering scene changes. However, almost all the ensemble acting is beautifully subtle. Andrew Woodall is pricelessly funny as Edward's blustering brother, Booth, and Kirsty Bushell is delightfully teasing as his boho, emancipated sister-in-law. I wonder if the romantic ending might have more question marks hanging over it and if West should be so thoroughly attractive. But who's complaining.

Gill makes you see everybody's clashing values with great sympathy, showing The Voysey Inheritance to be far more than a simplistic socialist salvo against capitalism.

k.bassett@independent.co.uk

To 7 June, 020 7452 3000

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