nick730 (nick730) wrote,

Theatre review: Generous

Canadian writer Michael Healey's play is the result of an apparently selfless and generous act that the playwright made, and his subsequent interest in exploring what exactly the motivation is behind trying to help people. Four interconnected stories start 15 years ago, as we see a very extreme (but very funny) political scandal which results in the party losing power; the opposition hold on to power for those 15 years so much of the play takes place within the framework of a long period of single party rule.

The rest of the stories have a more intimate nature played out against this political backdrop: Julia (a very good Jane Perry) is a superbitch (and proud of it) oil company executive who on the day the scandal breaks is being interviewed by a young journalist (Scott Christie) and telling him a lot more than she should. When we meet her again in the present day she's decided to mend her ways and help people (although she's rather vague about what this involves) but for her even doing good is couched in morally dubious terms. Also in the present day a judge (Karen Archer) has slept with a much younger man who works for her, and who refuses to leave until he's worked out how to help her sort her life out. Alex (Richard Beanland) is probably the most central character with regard to the play's theme, as his desire to sort people's lives out trumps the fact that he knows it makes people treat him as a bit of a joke. He also provides a connection to the fourth story, as he visits the judge's estranged daughter (Meghan Popiel) to try and reconcile them.

So it's one of those plays that sounds incredibly confusing when you try to describe it, but isn't really when you're watching it. True, at times it feels unfocused, especially in terms of scale (the political arena or personal lives) but it does set you off thinking which is the point. And more importantly since it's a comedy, it's a very successful one, with a lot of funny situations and the actors in Eleanor Rhode's production bring the characters vibrantly to life - the characters may not all be likeable but they all have something that makes them grab your attention.

Generous by Michael Healey is booking until the 30th of January at the Finborough Theatre.
Tags: theatre, theatre reviews

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