Late Company, at The Finborough Theatre: One in the eye for those who say theatre is afraid to take chances

Back in April, I received an intriguing email with the following subject line: ‘Invite to the press launch for Late Company at The Club at The Ivy.’

The play is currently on at the Finborough Theatre and is written by Canadian playwright Jordan Tannahill with complex sensitivity and dark humour and explores restorative justice, cyber bullying, and the ever-changing complexities of parenthood in the 21st century.

I saw the play last weekend at the Finborough and it was extremely good. Tannahill’s writing is strong and there’s that same balance of polite folks going about their small-town business, with their “oh yah”, “you betcha” quirks to remind us where we are, punctuated by cracking dialogue and something much darker; a play about bereaved parents looking for closure from the boy who bullied their son. One in the eye for those who say theatre is afraid to take chances.

Anyway, as a fan of free wine I replied saying that I would be interested in lunch, a chat with the cast and I decided I would go along and see what they had to say for themselves.

I arrived at 1.15pm.  After a few brief speeches from the Stage Traffic production team, members of the press and various bloggers took a seat, and there were performances of key extracts from the play followed by cast members: Todd Boyce (Michael), David Leopold (Curtis), Alex Lowe (Bill), Lucy Robinson (Debora) and Lisa Stevenson (Tamara). Lunch was served and it was all rather splendid.

Following the performances and lunch, I had a quick chat with three members of the cast: David Leopold (Curtis), Alex Lowe (Bill) and Lisa Stevenson (Tamara) over tea and cake.

Me: Hello! This has been a lovely afternoon hasn’t it.

Lisa Yes. We’re in the Ivy just had a nice free lunch and a couple of glasses of bubbly.

Alex:  I started off with a salad and then I had some chicken and the vegetarian option.

David: I had beetroot salad

Me: So, what are you hopes for ‘Late Company’ for and beyond its current run?

Alex:  I would like to create an authentic three-dimensional character. The writing is sophisticated in that it’s not a polemic. If I can serve the writing to the best of my ability I’ll be satisfied. I think it’s complicated – there’s a lot to my character – he’s a pragmatist, he’s a family man. If there’s any way I can encapsulate that then that would be splendid.

Lisa: I would like to deliver the play that I read. When I read, it I thought the play was almost perfect. It’s very theatrical because it’s in real time; you’re not let off the hook. I hope we can deliver the play Jordan wrote.

David:  Audiences want to see real human beings in front of them on stage – Jordan’s writing presents characters as well-rounded human beings. I hope that I am working hard enough as an actor to keep digging to make the performance more specific. In terms of the show, I think it’s written very truthfully. Any good piece of theatre asks questions of its audience and makes them think about their own life. I hope it does that for this run!

Me: How does it work? Do your look for more work while Late Company is running or keep your selves available. You must be pretty encouraged by the recent triumph of Rotterdam, first seen at Theatre 503 the Trafalgar Studios 2 and now West End bound, winning the Outstanding Achievement in an Affiliate Theatre at the 2017 Olivier Awards?

Lisa: That is incredible. We have a wonderful cast and if Late Company did have another life beyond its current run that would be amazing. We are just enjoying it for how it is now!

Alex: It’s so nice to be treated properly. The thing with transfers are that it’s never a week later is it. We are going into this run with an open mind and look forward to sharing it with audiences.

Late Company is on at The Finborough until 20 May –  Box Office: 0844 847 1652