★★★★ | Late Company, Finborough Theatre, London
Much like the recent Netflix smash hit series “13 Reasons Why”, “Late Company” examines the events surrounding the suicide of a teenager.
In this case, Michael and Debora, a wealthy politician and artist have invited round for dinner another boy involved in the online bullying campaign which they blame for contributing to their gay son’s death. Accompanied by his parents Tamara and Bill, Curtis is a mess of teenage angst as they face a dinner party with the potential to be a vision of hell. No prizes for guessing that the earnest plan for ‘closure’ that Tamara is hoping will help Curtis to move on isn’t going to be easily attained.
Young Canadian writer Jordan Tannahill has created a thing of devastatingly tender beauty in this one act play addressing some of the issues around being a teenager or a parent of one in the 21st century, responsibility for our acts and grief. It sounds gloomy and hard going and at points it is but it’s also surprisingly humorous and compelling to watch.
It’s a tense but brisk 75 minutes and is a play where the audience feels a constant switch in allegiances and perspective. Was Curtis such a monster? Were Michael and Debora really such good parents? Was the bullying all it seemed? What at first glance seems to be a given set of circumstances is more complex, as things so often are in life.
The play is tightly scripted and well acted with five sterling performances. This is a startlingly relevant play which will is both entertaining, thought-provoking and heartbreaking. Go see it.
Late Company plays at The Finborough Theatre until 20th May 2017
Chris is a theatre and book obsessed Midlander who escaped to London. He’s usually to be found slumped in a seat in a darkened auditorium.