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A Small Family Business

Published Friday 7 May 2010 at 11:51 by Victor Hallett

Alan Ayckbourn’s angry eighties farce of greed seems even more relevant now, as Terry Hands’ superbly organised and wildly funny production makes clear.

Max Jones’ superb two-storey set has utterly convincingly furnished rooms. It’s one of the play’s lovely conceits that, because the family business is furnishings, each house interior is identical, thus one complicated set does for all, yet each takes on the persona of its inhabitants without actually changing.

At the centre of an ever more complex series of events is Jack McCracken, the honest man wanting to bring trust back to the firm but finding himself ever deeper in the mire.

Robert Blythe is outstanding, investing Jack with a blustering incomprehension at the scale of the disaster he has inherited and giving the production the rock solid core it needs for the comedy to work so well.

There’s no room here to list all of the large cast, a shame because every single one contributes fully to the success of a genuinely outstanding evening. I will mention two performances that I particularly relished. Llion Williams is the epitome of the lugubrious, deadpan private detective and Catrin Aaron somehow managed to turn pursing her lips into a fine and remarkably varied art form.

It’s a long time since I have seen such a glorious example of comic acting from such a big ensemble, all at the service of a play which starts with what could be the climax and grows ever funnier and ever darker from there.

Production information

April 30-May 29 , Clwyd Theatr Cymru, Mold

Alan Ayckbourn
Terry Hands
Clwyd Theatr Cymru
Robert Blythe, Sherry Baines, Llion Williams, Catrin Aaron, Dyfrig Morris, Hilary Tones, Richard Elfyn.
2hr 30mins.

Production information displayed was believed correct at time of review. Information may change over the run of the show.

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Run sheet

King's Head, Islington London
January 24-February 15 2014