Tuesday, April 23

A Family Business – Omnibus Theatre

A show about how not to blow up the planet, a show about friendship, a show about diplomacy, and a show about what we all owe to each other as individuals and as nations, A Family Business is a genuinely thrilling and intensely educational experience. Written, performed, and introduced by the affable and erudite Chris Thorpe, watching this play feels like making a new friend. Clearly something Thorpe takes quite seriously, friendship is the foundation of this work, and his efforts to befriend experts and ignorant audiences alike are well worth their while.

With a severe urgency befitting the play’s subject matter, director Claire O’Reilly weaves audiences confidently through Thorpe’s dense syllabus with more than a little hand holding.

Photo: Andreas J. Etter

With much the same effect as Margot Robbie’s infamous bathtub set explication of stock markets, Eleanor Field’s sets and costumes are all convincing and engaging as Anna Clock’s sound design and Arnim Friess’ lighting and video are both illuminating and titillating.

Difficult to face but impossible to turn away from, this play is in turn both informative and entertaining, alarming and comforting. The supporting cast of three is made up of a suavely suited Greg Barnett sporting an American accent that could fry apple pie, a dignified and restrained performance from Efé Agwele, and a savvy but sweet anchoring presence provided by Andrea Quirbach in the narrative’s gravitational centre. In just the same way that new friends tend simultaneously to broaden our horizons and exacerbate our neuroses, this ensemble creates a spectacle, much like a good first date, that is both effortlessly enjoyable and terribly nerve wracking. Firing on all cylinders and never missing the mark, A Family Business is well worth buying into.

Reviewer: Kira Daniels

Reviewed: 23rd February 2024

North West End UK Rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.
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