Company of Ten making Rattigan relevant at St Albans’ Abbey Theatre
TERENCE Rattigan wrote Man and Boy nearly half a century ago but the Company of Ten has succeeded in making it as immediate as if it had been penned in the last couple of years.
The story of a father and son is set in the 1930s and yet in its exploration of dodgy financial dealings and a fall from grace, it is not a million miles away from the Bernie Madoff story.
It is certainly compelling watching, a triumph of first-rate acting and direction and a more than fitting tribute to Rattigan in his centenary year.
The Company of Ten sets never cease to amaze me. Their attention to detail is remarkable and the time and effort that goes into them is a real credit to an amateur company.
Man and Boy is no exception. By a simple device it splits a basement apartment in Greenwich Village, New York, into a sitting room and a bedroom with steps leading down so that the action is completely contained.
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David Goldman gives a masterful performance as the corrupt Romanian tycoon Gregor Antonesqu who is at the centre of everything that happens – even before he comes on stage.
He exudes an air of confidence and self-belief in the face of overwhelming odds – and does not hesitate to use his son Vassily – known to his girlfriend as Basil – in his eleventh hour scheming to save his business.
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Simon Gibson makes a welcome return to the Company of Ten – he has been away too long – as Gregor’s heir apparent cum dogsbody Sven Johnson while James Duffy as Basil and Emma Turner as his worldly-wise girlfriend Carol shine throughout.
Both are well on the way to being Company of Ten stars of the future.
The cast is completed with good performances from Clive Webb as Mark Herries, Daniel Robert Leigh as the accountant David Beeston and Jan Haniff as Gregor’s wife – a woman too used to the good life to give it up.
Roger Scales, whose star is definitely in the ascendancy as a Company of Ten director, puts his stamp on a riveting and entertaining play which does Rattigan proud.
Man and Boy runs until Saturday on the main stage at the Abbey Theatre in Westminster Lodge. Tickets are available from the box office on 01727 857861 or online at www.abbeytheatre.org.uk