"Strong production of American comedy"
by Matthew Partridge for remotegoat on 14/04/17

“Den of Thieves”, directed by Duncan Moore and currently running at the Baron’s Court Theatre, is a comedy about temptation. Kleptomaniac, and binge eater Maggie (Jessica Rogers) invites her sponsor Paul (Billy Knowles) to her apartment after she shoplifts a load of junk food. Paul, a recovering compulsive and safecracker himself, tries to keep her on the straight and narrow. However, when Flaco (Govind Hodgson), Maggie’s ne’er do well ex-boyfriend, appears on the scene with news of a potential score, both quickly find themselves agreeing to his ludicrous suggestion. Inevitably things end up going badly, and the three of them, along with Boochie (Jade-Marie Joseph), Flaco’s stripper girlfriend, end up tied to chairs at the mercy of gangster Sal (Keir Mills) and Little Tuna (Jed Soakell), the son of Sal’s boss, Big Tuna (Piers Burnell).

The first half of the play is a rip-roaring success. While this is partly helped along by Stephen Hadley Guirgis’ script, the acting is exceptional. Jessica Rogers displays a lot of vulnerability as Maggie, while Knowles is perfect as the over-earnest Paul. However, the star of the show is Govind Hodgson, who blows everyone away with his performance as a white guy desperate to be a Latino gangster. Full of swagger and bellicosity, and with a perfect Bronx-via-Puerto Rico accent, Hodgson is a force of nature, drawing a wave of laughter from the audience, without resorting to limp parody or ham acting. While the play loses a bit of momentum after the interval, with the ending a bit anti-climactic, it is still an entertaining conclusion to a very strong spring season from KDC Theatre, that has included “The Ghost Train” and “Dante’s Divine Comedy”.

Stephanie Urquhart is Assistant Director with Sarah Edwards the producer.

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