Review by Jac Bradley
Whilst there was a small flush of films a few years ago, investment banking hasn’t been a subject that has been addressed very much in the theatre; especially from an historical view point.
This play takes us back to 1850 (but with a decidedly 80’s flavour) to the era of Napoleon, Mad King George and of course, Nathan Meyer Rothschild, the banking tycoon.
The Heretical Historians, manage to educate and entertain in beautiful harmony. Creating set pieces, such as the South Sea Bubble, the battle of Waterloo, and a brilliant pigeon/horserace, that are exciting, funny and inventive.
The writing by Matthew Jameson (who also co-directs and takes a small role in the cast) is superb. Clean, wonderfully edited, with clear, complex characters and highly engaging dialogue. This play has its tongue firmly in its cheek.
It is held up by excellent performances from the all-male cast. David Gurney’s Danny, the pigeon fancier, is intensely likeable as the moral centre of the corporation. Will Charlton, as Tommy (channelling some Jonah Hill in Wolf of Wall Street) the cockney lad with a sharp mind and a smart mouth, was caustic yet charming and delightfully funny. Rhys Tees, with a flawless Jewish American accent, is sublime as the elder Rothschild, pushing his son to make something of himself; he carries the authority of an actor twice his age. I was hoping for a little more charm and approachability to Jahmai Maasai’s Nathan Rothschild, given that he was the lead, I found myself watching others instead.
With the lightest of touches, to sharpening the stagecraft, this play could rival anything in the big theatres. And if you want the most fun history lesson, go and see this show.