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A CurtainUp London Review
Written as a response to the kind of Restoration comedy which features the bed hopping of aristocratic rakes American Trade serves to expose the shallow inadequacy of the genre for anything other than weak sexual titillation. Indeed the prospect of seeing Geoffrey Freshwater as Lord Fairway in a turquoise posing pouch is not one designed to draw in the aesthetic loving crowds of Swiss Cottage.
The actors do their best: Tunji Kasim looks very attractive as Pharus the hustler from the United States who comes over to London to escape crime boss Jules (Clarence Smith) and his henchman Loni (David Carr). Debbie Korley pops up all over the place as Girl Wonder and as the hectoring, dominatrix air stewardess whose job it is to stop passengers gaining membership of the mile high club. Veteran RSC actor Sheila Reid is Pharus' Great Aunt Marian in London whose business interests are euphemistically called modelling. I did like Dharmesh Patel's Ragiv, Asian wheeler dealer who falls foul of British immigration or the UK Border Agency which the author amusingly calls Border Patrol!
The design is Manga comic book style and the costumes are bright, colourful, risqué and often dispensed with. Lighting too is bright and extreme. At one point Simone Saunders as Sylvia appears in an outfit which makes her look like a giant bee - it is a spectacular costume but other than reminding us what celebrities will do for publicity, loses its sting.
Thankfully this play has a very, very short run and is best forgotten.
Retold by Tina Packer of Shakespeare & Co.
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