Theatre: Wild East Royal Court London ooo99
Wednesday 09 February 2005
Very amusingly played by Tom Brooke as a vivid demonstration that failure is 99 per cent perspiration, Frank is not a natural in sharp-suited business surroundings. It's just his luck that the woman he chattily takes to be another candidate is one of the two formidable female interviewers waiting to film their interrogation of him.
I took a private bet, though, that by the end of this 85-minute drama, Frank would be prepared to smash all his values to get the post - and he does, almost literally (and to my mind highly artificially), through the wanton destruction of a beautiful ancient object.
The play is often very funny, and it contains some long speeches where De Angelis's ability to conjure up in words a dollar-hungry world where the devil takes the hindmost is disturbingly felt. There's a bit where one of the interviewers asks Frank to imagine that he's in a hotel in a new Russian boom-town. A prostitute pays him an unwanted visit and slumps over from drugs before he can show her the door. He has to call "security", but security is the last thing on security's mind. Before the resisting Frank is kicked unconscious, he's subjected to moral blackmail. How would he like to live in a place where, to survive, men had "to bring [foreign visitors] women they didn't even have the guts to fuck"?
It's probably a set-up; that's how crime works. And De Angelis overstates this point in her depiction of the condoned crime of big business as itself operating as a series of set-ups and set-ups within set-ups. In a way that Phyllida Lloyd's sharply etched, punchily acted production can't reclaim, the play becomes more and more irritatingly improbable on the simple, non-metaphorical level. Would two hard-nosed corporate types such as Dr Pitt (Sylvestra Le Touzel) and Helen Schlesinger's Dr Gray expose their messy mutual love-lives to an interviewer (particularly when the encounter is being filmed), except to illustrate the point that the pair are themselves the nervous likely victims of a set-up in a world where "continual restructuring is the future"?
From the outset, I was haunted by a sense of deja vu. Not surprising: Joe Penhall's Dumb Show, a main-stage Royal Court play last year, had a very similar set-up about, well, set-ups. That had a couple of sting journalists trying to entrap a comedian. But the focus on the contradictions of capitalist freedom was more concentrated there, and the dramaturgy was tighter. One play where three is company on this stage is fine; two of them so close together begin to look like a crowd.
To 12 March (020-7565 5000)
ReviewThese heroes in a half shell should have been left in hibernation
Sek, k'athjilari! (That’s “yes, definitely” to non-native speakers).TV
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Jack the Ripper: Scientists who claims to have identified notorious killer has 'made serious DNA error'
- 2 Ebola outbreak: What is bushmeat – and is it to blame for the disease that has killed thousands?
- 3 Star Wars memorabilia dubbed 'bit of plastic' by Antiques Roadshow's Fiona Bruce valued at £50,000
- 4 Russell Brand might seem like a sexy revolutionary worth getting behind, but he will only fail his fans
- 5 Michael McIntyre walks off stage after woman in the front row uses her phone
Breaking Bad series 6 is still not happening
Doctor Who, Flatline, review: Clara isn’t half bad as the Time Lord
Alfred Hitchcock's unseen Holocaust documentary to be screened
X Factor results: Two of Cheryl’s girls get the chop
Star Wars memorabilia dubbed 'bit of plastic' by Antiques Roadshow's Fiona Bruce valued at £50,000
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Sorry Judy Finnigan – Ched Evans is no less sickening than an alleyway rapist
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Workers 'could be forced to pay £5 a week' to get benefits
Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
Amal Alamuddin calls for the return of the Elgin Marbles from Britain: 'Injustice has persisted for too long'