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“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.

Related to this Review


Production Details
Production nameDreamland
VenueZoo Southside
StartsAugust 3, 2018
EndsAugust 26, 2018
Running time1hr
AuthorElla Donaldson
ComposerMichael Crean
DirectorSam Edmunds
Set designerJake Smart
Costume designerJake Smart
CastCara Baldwin, Eifion Ap Cadno, Ella Donaldson, James Matthews, Molly Byrne
ProducerHyperdrive Theatre
VerdictSlick and stylish but structurally clunky finance thriller from a new young company
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Fergus Morgan

Fergus Morgan

Fergus Morgan

Fergus Morgan

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