A fascinating banker monologue that goes a bit Patrick Bateman on us
One legacy of the credit crunch is the continuing trickle of plays about bankers: we seem almost as fascinated with them now as we were in the era of Gordon Gecko and ‘Bonfire of the Vanities’, stung by what their recklessness did to us, fascinated by their exponentially expanding wealth, somewhat confused by what it is they actually do all day.
Andy Duffy’s ‘Crash’ is an intriguing but flawed work, given an excellent production by Emma Callander, and superlatively performed by Jamie Michie. It’s a monologue, delivered by a nameless stock trader who offers a halting account of a disastrous few years that began with a tragic car crash and end with the collapse of the markets. ‘Crash’ constantly wrongfoots us: is this man a victim, damaged by one too many knocks in life? Or is there something fundamentally broken inside that makes him suited to his chosen profession?
That ‘Crash’ carries this off is in large part due to Michie’s delivery. He is hypnotically hesitant, sounding almost puzzled by the words he’s saying as they come out of his mouth. We feel for him as he loses his job – for unspecified reasons – and we’re confused when the odd bit of stinging misogyny comes out of his mouth, despatched in the same strangely vulnerable tone, or undercut with a wry joke. And there is something attractive about his lack of city boy braggadocio, the casual, no nonsense way he describes his profession.
Callander’s production is beautifully modulated, suffused with a sense of nervous anticipation that’s heightened by Andy Cowan’s excellent sound design, an ominous ambient hum that occasionally rises into a disconcerting roar whenever the protagonist describes a more trying incident. It builds builds builds, but unfortunately Duffy doesn’t have much of an exit strategy and the whole thing ends up going a bit ‘American Psycho’, wholeheartedly embracing the cliches that it had done so well to stave off for an hour.