Review: Faces in the Crowd

By John Nathan, October 30, 2008
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Royal Court Upstairs, London SW1

It happened with 9/11, now its happening with the credit crunch. In the wake of world shattering events, every other play in relatively closeted theatre-land suddenly seems informed by crisis. So is Leo Butler's raw two-hander the first credit-crunch play?

It reunites Dave (Con O'Neill) with his wife, Joanne (Amanda Drew), 10 years after he abandoned her and their debt-ridden, materialistic existence in Sheffield.

Now he lives in an overpriced London flat where Joanne has arrived to get the one thing they didn't acquire during all those years of interest payments for holidays, clothes and cars that they could not afford - a baby. Joanne is 39 and ovulating. All Dave has to do is keep his promise to impregnate her, which is made no easier by the constant noise of home improvements coming from the flat above.

In terms of plot, that is about it. Yet this painful, and painfully funny, relationship play makes for gripping viewing because Clare Lizzimore's voyeuristic production is viewed by its audience from above Dave's flat and reveals all that is private. But the real credit-crunch play is yet to come. When it does it will not just portray the low-income victims, but the respectable bankers and credit companies who peddled the poison.

(Tel: 020 7565 5000)

    Last updated: 10:52am, October 30 2008