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Late Company review at the Finborough Theatre, London – ‘superbly crafted’

Alex-Lowe and David Leopold in Late Company at the Finborough Theatre, London. Photo: Charlie Round Turner

Combining the creeping high school horror of Jay Asher’s 13 Reasons Why, the stigma-skewering impishness of Bruce Norris’ Clybourne Park, and a delectably bleak, Fargo-esque wit, Jordan Tannahill’s Late Company is a superbly crafted Canadian import.

In Michael Yale’s modest production, it becomes a tightly wound, incrementally gripping study about grief, guilt and the impossibility of parenthood.

Two sets of parents meet for dinner in an awkward bid to find closure after one of their sons has committed suicide, slitting his wrists in the bath to escape the relentless, homophobic bullying dished out by the other boy, also grimly present.

Tannahill unhurriedly and organically turns the screw of this impromptu Kangaroo Court over the course of the play, gradually unveiling revelations, concealed misgivings, and a rack of questionable parental decisions.

Hill’s production unfolds on Zahra Mansouri’s blandly naturalistic set – a stifling suburban dining room, all faux-granite walls and folded napkins – and boasts five impressively understated performances, notably from Lucy Robinson, as an inconsolable mother, and David Leopold, wordlessly suggesting mountains of sorrow as thick-set, high school bully Curtis.

If Late Company has a flaw, it’s that its dissection of parental delusions and cyber bullying stereotypes doesn’t go quite far enough.

It’s still an exquisitely weighted, socially engaged drama, that evokes both the febrile abyss of grief and Philip Larkin’s inescapable truth about parenting.

Verdict
A superbly crafted Canadian import about grief, guilt and teenage suicide

Production Information

Production
Late Company
Venue
Finborough Theatre
City
London
Starts
April 25, 2017
Ends
May 20, 2017
Press night
April 27, 2017
Authors
Jordan Tannahill  
Director
Michael Yale
Set
Zahra Mansouri
Lighting
Nic Farman
Sound
Christopher Prosho
Cast includes
Todd Boyce, David Leopold, Alex Lowe, Lucy Robinson, Lisa Stevenson
Casting
Annie Rowe
Producer
Stage Traffic Productions in association with Neil McPherson for the Finborough Theatre.
Running time
1hr 25mins