Published in the Guardian
Royal Lyceum, Edinburgh
PLAYWRIGHT DC Jackson staked his claim to office romcom territory with My Romantic History, a gag-filled romp that exposed the passions simmering behind the filing cabinets of an everyday workplace.
In this Marriage of Figaro, he proves there's more mileage still in using the conventions of the office to stifle the primal urges of his key characters. Relocating the Pierre Beaumarchais comedy to a post-banking-crisis world of high finance, he finds a match for the social decorum of old in the codes of behaviour of a modern corporation.
So the hero we meet in this high-rise Edinburgh office - realised with perfect corporate blandness by designer Alex Lowde - is the owner of Figaro Ferguson Asset Management, a company whose hedge funds are "all hedge and no fund". As long as Figaro keeps quiet about the hole in the accounts, today will be the day his company merges with a major financial institution, making millionaires of him and his fiancee in time for their evening wedding.
At any moment, however, their plan could be derailed by the lust of their colleagues, a lust made funnier by the strategic challenge of trying to have sex between staff meetings and Skype conferences. What Jackson has done, then, is find a parallel that makes sense of the repressed urges of the original, while adding a timely commentary on the venality of the banking industry.
Mark Prendergast's Figaro is a bit too much the wide boy to be a satisfying everyman but, graced by impressive renditions from the Mozart opera, he fires through Jackson's joke-heavy script with considerable charm. Barring the odd lull in the first half, Mark Thomson's production is a delight, not least in the splendid comic turns of Nicola Roy, Stuart Bowman and Molly Innes.
© Mark Fisher, 2012 (Pic: Alan McRedie)
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