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The Max Factor review at Barons Court London

Ellie hasn’t seen Max for ten years. They didn’t part on the best of terms; he was a mess – too many drugs and too many women.

A decade later and suddenly he’s back in her life, having seemingly sorted himself out in the intervening years. He’s married, moneyed, has a decent job and five kids.

Max soon starts to work his charm, not just on Ellie, but on her aspiring actress sister, Karen, and her widowed mother too, but it is clear there is more to him than meets the eye.

Brenda Gottsche’s play is an intelligent study of the influence people can have over each other’s lives.

The writing has a nice sense of ambiguity, with Gottsche raising more questions about the enigmatic Max than she answers. However, it becomes rather thematically cluttered as the play progresses, touching on a number of issues – marriage, euthanasia, parenthood – without exploring any of them in particular depth. Jeremy Bond’s production makes the most of Baron’s Court Theatre’s compact, subterranean space, and there are some engaging performances from Katie Cecil, as grounded barrister Ellie, and Katherine James as her more laid-back elder sister, but Jake Crimmin is rather too hesitant in the difficult role of Max, and is not quite as charismatic as the character demands.

Production Information

Barons Court, London, May 8-26

Author
Brenda Gottsche
Director
Jeremy Bond
Producer
Drowning Fish Productions
Cast includes
Jake Crimmin, Katie Cecil, Katherine James
Running time
1hr 15mins
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