You Can Still Make a Killing

Nicholas Pierpan
Southwark Playhouse

You Can Still Make a Killing

Unapologetically sharp and unemotional, this production tackles the now well-trodden theatrical subject matter of the current economic collapse but with a view from the inside out.

Following the friendship of city boys Edward (Tim Delap) and Jack (Ben Lee), the play charts their rise and fall professionally, morally and lays bare the impact on their high-maintenance lifestyles. The old adage that pride comes before a fall can be applied to nearly every character in this stark and uncompromising tale as jobs and relationships become commodities destroyed by the power of the stock market.

Tightly directed and with minimal staging, the emphasis is placed upon the verbal sparring of the characters who trade insults as easily as loyalties. With scene changes handled seamlessly by the cast, the passage of time is clear but not exaggerated, although the temptation to caricature some of the performances must have been strong.

The wives in particular act as foils for their ambitious husbands with Fen (Kellie Bright) the mumsy and home-loving and Linda (Marianne Oldham) the highly-strung and well bred society wife.

The domestic scenes are the play’s window into their world of competitive living in which success is not just judged by actual wealth but also by perception of it. From these scenes it is easier to understand the pressure put upon the men in all aspects of their lives even if it may appear slightly preposterous to the ‘ordinary man’.

With some fantastic one liners including “This guy's got a third-rate degree from a first-rate university. He'll make a perfect civil servant”, Nicholas Pierpan’s script is fast and furious but unfortunately just a bit too long. With a clever mix of biting humour and an appropriate amount of poignancy, it is however as engrossing as it is cruel.

You Can Still Make a Killing is an articulate investigation of the human side of the banking crisis unafraid to dip into a world of murky morals and their appraise consequences. It might be too soon to look upon Edward’s inability to send his children to a private school as tragic, but in a system which allowed and encouraged greed and risky dealing could anyone blame him for wanting the best of the best?

As he descends into moral freefall by the end of the play, it is left for the audience to decide who, if anyone, they feel sympathy for.

Reviewer: Amy Yorston