This review is from 'London Wall's January/February run at the Finborough Theatre
Plucked from obscurity and lavished with care, John van Druten’s skilful office drama may not have been seen in London for 80 years, but it couldn’t have hoped for a better homecoming than this. It’s a smart indictment of the meagre circumference of a woman’s life as part of the urban workforce of the ’30s, wrapped around a heartfelt romantic drama.
Alex Robertson is irresistibly monstrous as mega-bounder Mr Brewer, but it’s Alix Dunmore’s performance as the restrained Miss Janus, sensitively aware of her increasing age and desperate to escape, that takes your breath away.
There’s more to Van Druten’s work than meets the eye: for all the wrangling over wedding rings, we’re never allowed to forget that the pitiful wages paid to women workers promised only a sallow sort of existence to those who failed or chose not to marry.
Director Tricia Thorns brilliantly captures the tumult of a busy legal office, aided by Alex Marker’s ingenious design. ‘London Wall’ is crammed with delicious details and moments, time spent perfecting everyday office tasks has paid off in the enchanting realism of the stamping, folding, tying and sewing of documents, and Thorns’s sense of comic timing makes the final encounter between youthful sweethearts a masterclass in white-knuckle wooing.
The ultra-reliable Finborough strikes again, with a well-made and insightful play that’s been immaculately revived. Stewart Pringle