Cash Cow review at Hampstead Theatre, London – ‘fails to score points’
With Wimbledon round the corner, this play about the parents of a tennis prodigy is well timed but ultimately proves more of a double fault than an ace.
Oli Forsyth’s two-hander centres on Ade (Jonathan Livingstone) and Nina (Phoebe Pryce), a working-class couple who spy a path to riches when their daughter shows an aptitude with a racket.
The scenes jump back and forth between the past and present, when they’re trying to persuade their now-retired daughter to let them back into her life after an estrangement of three years. Having controlled her career with a ruthlessness bordering on megalomania, their major concern is attempting to claw back some of the money they feel they invested in her success.
Although Forsyth makes some salient observations about children becoming warped by ambitious parents, very little about his story is remotely surprising. In fact it runs like a checklist of cliches, and at times feels like watching a long and dull rally that pocks back and forth without any real drama.
Livingstone and Pryce do their best to bring dynamism to the central pair, but neither really ring true. And the way the daughter is reduced to a few words feels like a missed opportunity – the most interesting character is not on stage.
Katie Pesskin’s floodlit traverse staging effectively conjures the feel of a tennis court, it’s just a shame the match never really gets going.
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.