I’ve spent quite a lot of my Easter weekend thinking about Donald Trump. As a thankful respite from trying to read the 448 pages of the Mueller Report, it was for positive reasons on Good Friday night at Southwark Playhouse.
‘They can pass all the laws they want. All they do is change the rules – they can’t stop the game.’
Given the title and the subject of corporate greed surrounding a hostile takeover, I had a sneaking suspicion that Trump may have inspired Katharine Farmer‘s 30th-anniversary revival of Jerry Sterner‘s award-winning Off-Broadway hit Other People’s Money – but it was fascinating to learn at Friday’s post-show Q&A just how direct this inspiration was. (Thank goodness for secondhand bookstores, by the way.)
The play centres around the New England Wire & Cable Company of New England, a small-town family-run business that becomes a takeover target for Larry-the-Liquidator (Rob Locke). With a jam-today approach to both doughnuts and investments, Larry is accustomed to grabbing life by the assets. But CEO Jorgy (Michael Brandon) has a different approach. Can his old-fashioned approach fend off Wall Street? How do you define ‘values’? Whose will the stockholders choose?
For the post-show Q&A, I was joined by Farmer, Locke and Brandon as well as fellow cast members Amy Burke, Lin Blakley and Mark Rose, with input too from designer Emily Leonard and the audience (including a corporate financier – don’t hate him, he pleaded!)
Other People’s Money was also made into the 1991 film starring Danny DeVito. How much did he influence Rob Locke‘s performance? What’s Michael Brandon‘s connection to DeVito? How does the play differ from the film? How relevant is the play to today’s business environment? What’s a modern equivalent? This and much more discussed.
Watch the full post-show Q&A below. An incredibly timely production. A bankable hit too? Judging by the sell-out audience on a sunny Bank Holiday, I’d say so.
— Terri Paddock (@TerriPaddock) April 19, 2019
Event photography by Peter Jones.