“More slo-mo skid and shunt than full-on collision, more crunch than splat”
In the Autumn line-up of A Play, A Pie and a A Pint.
A whacked City trader speaks. He’s Scottish but it’s a quids in, pound sterling monologue, unassuming and on the level; a penny plain real deal, in fact, provided you accept that asset management is an emotional as well as a financial business. Finally, even naturally, the ‘game’ wastes you. There’s a wreck at the end of the tunnel.
Writer Andy Duffy’s single character has no name. He is a man alone in a sober suit and tie on a shiny office chair in a smooth glossy space. He could be in Aberdeen or across the way in Standard Life House, but still I incline to the Square Mile. His story begins on the night of 23 August 2007. (For the record Lehman Brothers declared bankruptcy on 15 November 2008.) He is precise like that; where he can he will enumerate, when he can’t he’ll simply point out that you don’t make money by being careful. And, instinctively, he has made and is still making lots of it.
Man (Jamie Michie) reads a piece in the ‘Financial Times’. His new girlfriend, Kate, prefers novels, which he considers to be self-indulgent pap. Man had a wife once but Alison died, which he’s sorry about, but shit happens when you lose control at the wheel, or when your investments go south. That’s ‘unprecedented volatility’ for you, which is where I’d bring in Russell Brand, who had lunch with the FT just last week. Brand finds the pink pages ‘hard to understand’ and opposes his ardent belief in spiritual ideologies to the FT’s economic one(s). So too even our trader, bruised and shaken by his wife’s death, attends meditation classes where in mid-mantra he finds consolation in … Kate’s long blond hair and tight figure. Nothing too revolutionary there to upset the capital markets .
Crash is more slo-mo skid and shunt than full-on collision, more crunch than splat, and so more revealing. There is the head-rest proposition that ‘money equals power and freedom’ but how is that supportable? Every now and again something is going to pile in from behind and the result will be bloody. You can hear it happening. There is a thrum of white noise – not Traverse 2’s air con – and the lighting gets colder. I was reminded of a Tube train coming into Bank. Man rises from his chair and/or collapses on a park bench and you wonder, not for the first time since the last financial horror show, if getting minted is worth it.
A driven, strong play that is expertly directed by Emma Callander and impressively performed by Jamie Michie.
Reviewer: Alan Brown (Seen 28 October)
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