Man & Boy
Old Court Theatre, Chelmsford
Friday 10th February 2012
An intricately designed, fully detailed basement flat is the setting for Rattigan's Man & Boy, realised in true CTW style with great attention to detail, including "up" stairs outside the window.
The play centres around the fictional entrepreneur Gregor Antonescu, a ruthless sociopath on the brink of collapse, and his son, on the eve of a last ditch attempt at a large-scale business deal.
The play is slow and involved, and yet other than the protagonist, little availability is given for the characters to develop any depth. Although there is a certain degree of empathy possible for the son dealing with his overbearing criminal of a father figure, none of the characters have any thing about them for the audience to like, or even care about.
That said, Antonescu is a highly complex character, and CTW had him skillfully portrayed by the excellent Dave Hawkes, constantly engaging and full of depth of understanding.
The supporting cast were generally good, with special mention going to debutante Amanda Drury, who was very engaging as the son's girlfriend. An increasingly common feature among the younger performers at CTW lately was shared in both James Christie and Tony Ellis, in that their delivery was far too garbled, speaking each word with such alacrity that the overall effect is to lose the attention of this audience member completely.
Overall, a play that I won't be rushing back to see in production again, but a decent production by the popular Theatre Workshop.