First Night: The proof that lads' culture can be classy
'Real Classy Affair' Royal Court London
Tuesday 20 October 1998
In a Real Classy Affair, Grosso's new, very funny take on twentysomething lad culture, an altogether more epic geographical leap is projected, from North London to darkest Streatham where, much to the consternation of his sharp-suited drinking pals and life-long friends, the nice Stan (excellent Nick Moran) plans to decamp with his discontented flirty wife Lou (delectable Liza Walker) to open a bistro. One character claims: "A hush descended... all the way to Tooting it went".
Short of also persuading the footballer Michael Owen to make his stage debut with a full frontal nude scene, it is hard to see how director James Macdonald could have assembled a cast more hip, hot and happening for this meticulous and beautiful, droll production. Stars from Closer, This Life and the current movies Elizabeth and Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels converge on Rob Howell's circular revolving set - and the material pretty much lives up to the cast.
Training a sceptical eye on the supposed strengths of male-bonding, the play surveys the rivalry and treachery that are brought to the surface by the married couple's mooted move. There is the sensitive question, for example, of whose pad will host the farewell function. There are two contenders. Joseph Fienne's swaggering, vulpine-faced Billy has a platonic, conversational rapport with Lou and harbours an Iago-like resentment that seems to date from the childhood of Jason Hughes's cocky "Mr Snakeskin Shoes Tommy", whose intimacy with Lou has evidently gone much further.
In highly patterned scenes, the positions of the antagonists go through various ironic reversals.
Yes, you can see these coming a mile off, but that may be the point. This does not mean the play's talent is all for local dialogue, though the dead-pan diagnostic pointers of the exchanges are a key part of the pleasure. .
A consolidation perhaps, rather than extension of Grosso's talent but a pretty classy affair, all the same.
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Weather bomb in pictures: Storms cuts power for tens of thousands – and snow is on the way
Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
Russell Brand was rendered speechless on Question Time by this man
Fury at Airbus after it hints the super-jumbo may be mothballed
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Rozanne Duncan: Ukip expels councillor for 'jaw-dropping' comments made in BBC TV interview
Sony hack: Angelina Jolie branded 'seriously out of her mind' in further embarrassing leaked email saga
Panic Saturday: 13 million Britons spend £1.2bn – while 13 million others across the country live in poverty unable to afford food
Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: Exeter - An excellent opportunity for a Solici...
£17000 - £20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Helpdesk Support Technician - 12 ...
£28000 - £32000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: Maintenance...
£30000 - £38000 per annum + pesion + holidays: The Jenrick Group: World Wide S...