Friday, 28 November 2008

Alex - Leicester Square Theatre

Alex by Charles Peattie & Russell Taylor
Director: Phelim McDermott
Video Design: Leo Warner & Mark Grimmer
Animation: Charles Peattie
Reviewer: John Roberts

Based on the Daily Telegraph's long running comic strip by Charles Peattie & Russell Taylor, Alex is brought to life in this fusion of Live theatre and animation. Alex is a middle aged financial banker in London's square mile and the highs and lows of being in such a profession is brought to life in this slick and sophisticated production.

Robert Bathurst's Alex is smooth, suave, and sexist but wins the audience around with his charm and panache and great comic timing. The charm of this production lies in his rapport with the audience from the go and is helped along by the split second timing with the superb on screen animations (Charles Peattie) that appear on the simple but effective set by Phil Eddolls.

Phelim McDermot is known for his quirky directing and this production has lots of ingenious touches, the blending of the live and the animated is perhaps, the best I've ever seen this technique done before. This production had the possibility of being over indulgent and a little to introverted in the issues and themes that it raised, but me being a complete finance novice found the information and the humour easy to relate too (I'm not quite sure if the fellow bankers in the audience found it as easy to laugh at though!)

This is a pacey and often hilarious and satirical romp through Alex's trails and tribulations with his wife Penny, The stuck up french graduate trainee Sebastian and Mr Hardcastle the Leeds entrepreneur, with many moments making this reviewer cringe at the thought that there are people who are like this and behave in the same manner. This is without doubt one of Robert Bathurst's finest theatrical performances and should be seen before its too late!
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