Dreamland review at Zoo Southside, Edinburgh – ‘slick, stylish but clunky banking thriller’
Here’s a young company taking on a big subject. Dreamland is the debut show of Hyperdrive Theatre, an outfit formed from East 15 students earlier this year. It’s a slick and stylish finance thriller by Ella Donaldson, set during the 2008 crash.
The narrative focuses on Johnny, a 25-year-old stock broker, who’s determined to make a lot of money by any means necessary. He steals an idea from a colleague (something about buying shitty “CDOs” – collateralised debt obligations – cheap, repackaging them, and selling them on), then proceeds to snort and sex his way into an unassailable position of power.
There’s a lack of shape and focus to Donaldson’s play – is she taking on banking’s cut-throat culture, toxic masculinity, corporate capitalism, or all three? – but it’s compelling nonetheless, capturing a heady, Aaron Sorkin-ish hedonism, and generally managing to steer clear of melodrama.
There are a few iffy performances and some awkward tonal mis-steps. But Sam Edmunds’ production, on a bare white stage populated with just a desk and a swivel chair, shifts gears swiftly, and incorporates some pulsating movement sequences set on the company’s trading floor.
Hyperdrive is hampered here by the facilities, but it has definitely got something – something it could build on with more support.
We need your help…
When you subscribe to The Stage, you’re investing in our journalism. And our journalism is invested in supporting theatre and the performing arts.
The Stage is a family business, operated by the same family since we were founded in 1880. We do not receive government funding. We are not owned by a large corporation. Our editorial is not dictated by ticket sales.
We are fully independent, but this means we rely on revenue from readers to survive.
Help us continue to report on great work across the UK, champion new talent and keep up our investigative journalism that holds the powerful to account. Your subscription helps ensure our journalism can continue.