Sunday, 18 October 2015

'Roaring Trade' Park Theatre **

The Stock Market can at times be reflected as a sporting arena as employees are always at loggerheads with one another to earn more money for themselves, nonetheless when corruption is at stake, can morals prevent this from happening? The Park Theatre’s revival production of Steve Thompson’s 2009 play, ‘Roaring Trade’ was an extremely dull and desensitising production and leaves you wanting to roar with utter frustration, yet the portrayals are suitably depicted.

‘Roaring Trade’ is set largely in the Canary Wharf stock market establishment, where we’re introduced to the slightly vibrant, Jess who is being increasingly conniving  to her colleague, alpha male, Donny by getting him to remove all but his underpants. When young aspiring trader, Spoon arrives to begin work, he is given a harsh time by Donny as he feel that he needs to earn his stripes and his initiation is exceedingly cruel, and when PJ enters he knows that this is poppycock and very harsh. It is noticeable that all four are competing against each other in order to gain the most amount of money , as well as, their jobs are impacting on their home lives and happiness. This is evident when PJ is frantic to leave his job and focus on something else, however, his wife, Sandy (Melanie Gutteridge) is worried that if he quits his job then their lifestyles will have to change; this means downsizing from their huge mansion. Spoon and Donny are becoming rivals when they see how their bonuses are different and the conclusion is that Spoon has the biggest bonus out of the two. Bribery is rife when Spoon is going to leave for another company and asks Jess to resign and move with him to this other company, also she has to get eight other people to resign too; this excludes Donny. She learns that Spoon has backstabbed Donny so that he loses the company a considerable amount of money and that his reputations is in ruins, so she decides to side with Donny, and when Spoon is handed the nine letters they are in fact blank and Spoon’s hopes and dreams are left in shatters. Donny is informed of this and punches Spoon to the ground and as he has been sacked Donny packs up his desk and walks out. At the finale, Donny is sat with his son, Sean (William Nye) it appears that Donny has been a massive influence to his son’s life and he has been swindling his classmates by upping the prices of confectionary in a tuck shop he is managing, and this shocks Donny a lot. Thompson’s narrative is mundane as the tone is dreary and vile as it is bleak, this is unlike what was shown in the film, ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ where excess is ever present and this is not clear here whatsoever.

One found the performances by the company of, ‘Roaring Trade’ to be acceptably conveyed despite the repulsive dialogue and plotline. Nick Moran is adequate as slight bully, Donny; chiefly the moment where finds that a young man can do so much better than him in a matter of weeks and that when he is sacked he realises that his career is over and that there’s nothing left out there for him. Michael McKell is substandard as drunken, PJ; predominantly the sense of depression is visible when the life had has drastically turned from earning millions of pounds a year to one where he is focusing on gardening and this is making his alcohol consumption to intensify in not a very good way at all. Timothy George is decent as young upstart, Spoon; expressly how his refined education to Cambridge has made him become an arrogant and pretentious person who can’t seem to get on with many masculine men, I did like his charisma when Jess hands him the blank pieces of paper and his life is shattered in front of him. Lesley Harcourt is passable as vivacious, Jess; in particular how we see that her morals are not going to be manipulated for the sake of Spoon’s progression and that her side is on Donny’s as she disagrees with Spoon about his methods to destroy Donny’s reputation in the workplace. 

Alan Cohen’s direction is tragic here as he has not even smoothed over the disappointing moments within Thompson’s narrative and this is a shame for the acting company as there are not that many amusing parts in this play and the audience reaction is not that brilliant here as it’s hard to get enthralled by such a shocking show. Grant Hick’s design is wonderful as the screens are realistic to those that would be present in an actual stock market institution, nevertheless, I would have wanted to have seen more of Douglas O’Connell’s video designs being used to determine the bleakness of the show. Overall, the experience of, ‘Roaring Trade’ did not engross you into the stock market atmosphere, and the scene changes are fundamentally messy and catastrophic.

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