Teasing out the truth behind the greed and recklessness in the banking sector

(You can follow Brendan Jamison on Twitter by clicking here)

Theatre Review: Bankers by Brian McAvera:   

Powerful. The play opens with three gagged figures on stage, all tied to office chairs and unconscious. Awoken by their kidnapper, we discover this is a British banking CEO, his wife and their daughter. All held hostage by a man wearing a workman’s belt with menacing tools that dangle from his waist as he leaps around the stage.

But does the kidnapper seem threatening? No. Not at first. The opening sequence sees Cathal Quinn’s character exert a jovial camp persona that makes it seem unconvincing he could ever be a ruthless criminal.

However, as the plot thickens, the layers of his backstory culminate in an altogether different perspective on his character, an intellectual capable of arguing his points with solid references to history, economics and politics, guiding the audience towards a conclusion that this is a very dangerous man indeed.

Every little detail has been carefully masterminded and this kidnapper definitely has nothing left to lose. The script is complex and therefore Quinn deserves congratulations for delivering such a compelling 90-minute non-stop performance.

 

On stage performing at the preview, from left to right: Evelyn Lockley (The Daughter), Cathal Quinn (The Kidnapper), Tara Breathnach (The Wife) and Michael Bates (The Banker)

On stage performing at the preview, from left to right: Evelyn Lockley (The Daughter), Cathal Quinn (The Kidnapper), Tara Breathnach (The Wife) and Michael Bates (The Banker)

 

In a nutshell, McAvera presents us with an engaging series of dialogues involving the four characters, teasing out the truth behind the greed and recklessness of those in the investment-banking sector.

Michael Bates delivers an exceptional performance as the helpless CEO who is perpetually out-witted by Cahill’s counter-argument to the banker’s version of facts and events.

We learn of the lobbying efforts to control the political agendas… and of course perhaps the greatest act of fraud on society as a whole, the manipulation of lending rates to skim even more profits from a completely unsuspecting public.

The inquisitive nature of the sixteen-year-old (played superbly by Evelyn Lockley) makes for an interesting shift of position as she becomes awakened to the extent of her Father’s actions.

In-between the uncompromising stance of the CEO, his wife (played by the ever-captivating Tara Breathnach), offers a greater level of open-mindedness to access the mindset of her kidnapper and attempt to alter the endgame.

The pace quickens through intelligent dialogue teasing out some uncomfortable truths and statistics surrounding the unequal distribution of wealth.

A McAvera play can always be relied upon to present an enlightening theory on an issue that is often over-looked, like a Professor who blends education with satire, the audience remains stimulated throughout.

In conclusion, stepping away from the theatre to reflect, the entire world has been affected by the banking crisis and it seems most people still can’t quite understand the chain of events.

Unlike the experience of watching a short news bulletin to grasp a small bite of the bigger picture, ‘Bankers’ is a well-researched play that offers the opportunity to comprehend the arguments, both for and against, and it is for this reason that everyone should see it.

The play builds to a tension-induced climax and definitely goes out with a bang!

Bravo to McAvera for once again tackling an issue at the very heart of society. He remains a champion of contemporary theatre at its absolute edgiest.

Bankers runs at The New Theatre, 43 East Essex Street, Temple Bar, Dublin 2, from 1st to 11th May 2013 at 7.30pm.

www.thenewtheatre.com/

(You can follow Brendan Jamison on Twitter by clicking here)

 

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