"Sharp critique of consumer culture"
by Matthew Partridge for remotegoat on 02/05/19

“Love and Money”, written by Dennis Kelly, directed by John Irvine and produced by Network Theatre at their playhouse adjacent to Waterloo Station, looks at how greed, and our desire for material things, can poison human relationships. Written in the run-up to the financial crisis, it tells the story of David (Oli Robinson) and Jess (Rachael Harrison) backwards, beginning with David confessing to a love interest the exact circumstances of Jess’s death. It then looks at how Jess’s shopping addiction, fuelled by exploitative credit cards, forced David to give up teaching for a job in sales.

While the play revolves around Robinson’s David and Harrison’s Jess, there are a wide range of supporting characters, including Jess’s parents (Lee Copp and Susan Small) and David’s boss and ex-girlfriend (Freya Lund). The short piece involving Copp and Small is particularly moving, as they describe how a mixture of grief and jealousy led them to vandalise a monument in a graveyard. The well-choreographed ensemble of Jess Withey, Gabriella Guymer-Davies, Alex Farrell and Lauren Waterman also provide wider comment on the pernicious effects of credit. While the scene involving sleazy agent Duncan (Dom Thomson) and Debbie (Jamila Jennings-Grant), feels a bit out of place, Thomson and Jennings-Grant do their best to capture the audience’s attention.

Overall, John Irvine and Network Theatre have delivered a strong production of “Love and Money”, which works well as both a pointed critique of modern consumer society, and as the moving story of a relationship poisoned by greed.

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