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Roaring Trade at Park Theatre – Review

Roaring Trade - Michael McKell & Melanie Gutteridge
Roaring Trade: Michael McKell and Melanie Gutteridge – Photo by Robert Workman

Canary Wharf. As the curtain comes down on the recession, four wildly different bond traders put their limits to the test.

The coarse tactics of top dog, Donny, are challenged when a younger, fresher new arrival fights to stake a claim in the bank. With Jess wrapping clients around her little finger, bright Cambridge grad Spoon has to catch up fast. Struggling to paper over the cracks of a family life in suburbia, seasoned trader PJ lags behind. In glass buildings that never sleep, is there a glass ceiling and what will it take for it to shatter?

The opening scene has four office desks. There is loud trading floor background noise playing on a loop. The backdrop of the stage consists of projections which vary from displaying share trading to a digital panoramic view of a city skyline.

Roaring Trade - Lesley Harcourt, Nick Moran and Timothy George
Roaring Trade: Lesley Harcourt, Nick Moran and Timothy George – Photo by Robert Workman

Nick Moran plays Donny, the know-it-all trader, very well. We find out throughout the play that maybe Donny doesn’t know everything and has doubts about the new boys’ techniques at making money. This goes from envy to suspicion quite quickly. Donny’s character develops throughout the play going from the know-it-all competitive, brusque, lustful one to reflectively regretting decisions made. Moran does a fantastic job portraying these emotions with excellent comic timing.

PJ is played by Michael McKell and Mckell does a remarkable job spending most of the time playing a drunk. Several of McKell’s scenes are with his wife Sandy, played by Melanie Gutteridge, who comes across as totally money obsessed but given she appears to be left at home while her husband is in the pub the money is probably the reason she has stayed.

Lesley Harcourt does a memorable job as Jess, the trader who uses her feminine wiles to get ahead in the business. Harcourt does a cut-throat ball buster really well!

Timothy George is Spoon the public schoolboy turning his hand at trading. George does a superb job with this and makes it completely believable that Daddy has contacts even though he can do no wrong – or can he?

The play is really well written with jokes throughout. They even mentioned a topical “the bonds are falling faster than Volkswagon” joke which went down rather well. It is well-paced and didn’t solely concentrate on the comedy giving us an insight into the hard world of the trader (I have no idea if this portrayal is realistic but it certainly comes across so). We are shown abuse, rough sex, swearing aplenty and the downright dog eat dog nature of trading. It did get slightly confusing with the sales traders mentioned as cast. They were in the programme and took bows but they don’t actually appear on the stage except to help with staging furniture.

Would I recommend that you go and see Roaring Trade? Yes, it is a great way to spend an evening and Park Theatre is a smashing venue that utilises the space available superbly.

4 stars

Review by Lee Cogger

Cast
Nick Moran | Donny
Michael McKell | PJ
Lesley Harcourt | Jess
Timothy George | Spoon
Melanie Gutteridge | Sandy
William Nye | Sean
Connah Andrews | Sales Trader Stan
Joseph Cullen | Sales Trader Rick
David Hopper | Sales Trader Bruno
Chloe van Harding | Sales Trader Kate

Creative
Director | Alan Cohen
Playwright | Steve Thompson
Designer | Grant Hicks
Costumes | Adrian Gwillym at Academy Costumes
Digital Designer | Douglas O’Connell
Sound Designer | Chris Drohan
Lighting Designer | Alex Marshall
Casting Director | Kate Plantin
Plays until: 24th October 2015
Running Time: 1 hour 45 mins (inc. 20 min. interval)
https://www.parktheatre.co.uk/whats-on

Thursday 1st October 2015

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