REVIEW: Ruthlessness, Southampton University Theatre Group, The Cube, Southampton University (From Daily Echo)
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REVIEW: Ruthlessness, Southampton University Theatre Group, The Cube, Southampton University
SOUTHAMPTON University’s Theatre Group has found a real gem to take to the Edinburgh Fringe this year in Ruthlessness.
Student-written, the play is unashamedly a reflection of New Labour ’s transition to power with characters mirroring their real life counterparts – except their actions come with much more deadly consequences.
Sam Dobson pulls off a perfect impression of Tony Blair as fresh-faced mob boss Carlyle, who struggles to keep himself sane after inheriting his father’s criminal empire.
Dobson is magnificent throughout, combining Blair with aspects of terrible bosses Gordon Brittas and David Brent to produce a hilarious yet tragic figure.
The rest of the characters start off slowly, appearing to be typical gangster stereotypes – the enforcer, the goons, the ditzy girlfriend.
But then it plays out like a good Guy Ritchie film, with twists and turns round every corner as characters betray each other at a moment’s notice to get ahead.
The twin plot strands are quite loose – involving a scheme to fix a boxing match to secure ownership of a casino, and a desperate bid to repay a large debt – but these allow the characters to flesh out.
The only downside was when the play unnecessarily became too overt in its comparisons to the Government such as a long speech about the flaws of political parties.
But what really held it together was the humour, with slapstick, one liners and pure mayhem all used to ground the grizzly chaos the characters found themselves in.