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Posts Tagged ‘Col Farrell’

Bliss. A proper play. The Finborough have done it again and made a timely discovery of a seemingly forgotten 77-year old play and given it a superb production with a crack cast.

Cornelius is a partner in an aluminium trading firm which is facing bankruptcy. The business has been trying to continue its principled style whilst the rest of the world of business has become much more competitive, hard-nosed and ethically dubious.  His partner is away trying to drum up trade (apparently) whilst he runs the office and fends off creditors and endless sales reps (‘travellers’ – I’d almost forgotten the term!) many of whom have turned to selling in desperation during the tough mid-30’s. For good measure, we also have the mystery surrounding what has actually been happening to partner Murrison on the road and unrequited love both by and of Cornelius.

It’s a slow start as the situation and characters are introduced, but when it gets into its stride it draws you in and zips along. Designer David Woodhead has created a brilliant period office environment and Sam Yates staging makes great use of the limited space. The performance style also takes time to settle. I found the acting a bit OTT at first, but I think this is getting used to the behaviours for the period; a rhythm develops and it becomes more realistic.

Cornelius is on stage almost the whole time and Alan Cox has to strike the right note as a benevolent businessman with a sprinkling of naivety without making him a patronising bore; he pulls it off beautifully. Col Farrell seems completely at home as Chief Cashier Biddle from the outset; a lovely performance. There are fourteen other fine performances from 10 actors – too many to mention, but all worthy of it.

The subject matter is right up J B Priestly’s moralistic street, but the parallel between his time and ours is simply extraordinary. Yet again we find the Finborough brings us important revivals whilst others are endlessly re-cycling Shaw, Ibsen & Chekov. A bucketload of theatrical brownie points!

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