Take an 18th-century French satire, decide on a more modern period in which to set it and the universal themes of trickery and greed should do the rest.
York Theatre Royal. until Sat Dec 02 2017
Alain Rene’s comedy adapts well to this new 1920s setting, yet harks back to its comedy roots reassuringly. Here we have the clever servant, the greedy banker, the calculating widow and the ‘conman’ lover, all playing according to type – but the end result was disappointing.
Northern Broadsides production of For Love Or Money is Barrie Rutter’s last role as actor/ director and the play delivers all we have learned to expect from the company. It is the play itself which falls below expectations. There is the usual Yorkshire dialect and mucky innuendo, the action is quick and the acting slick but there is not enough to really satisfy.
Barrie Rutter as Algy the banker is hypocritically venal and rapacious, Rose (Sarah Jane Potts) as the young widow is knowing and calculating and her lover Arth slippery as a very slippery thing. But this mix needs the deft hand of a fixer and hey presto, he’s there as a servant Jack, played by Jordan Metcalfe, ably assisted by his girlfriend: Kat Rose-Martin.
This physicality should have been continued, as it was by Jos Vantyler: the lover. His sinuous movement was a joy and added the style the production generally lacked. The scene between him and the farmer Martin, describing a failed seduction was very funny and really made good use of the double meanings which permeate the play.