Have you caught the European premiere of Jordan Tannahill’s Late Company yet? After transferring following its sell-out spring season at the Finborough Theatre, Michael Yale’s production has won another slew of five- and four-star reviews in the West End. Its limited season at Trafalgar Studios 2 must finish on 16 September 2017. A selection of some of our favourite review quotes is gathered below…
A successful middle-class couple’s lives are irrevocably changed after their teenage son is mercilessly bullied for being gay. In an attempt to “move on” they invite his chief tormentor, and his parents, to a dinner party. Far from finding the peace they seek, the dinner strips bare their good intentions to reveal layers of parental, sexual, and political hypocrisy.
Written with sensitivity and humour, Late Company explores restorative justice, cyber bullying, and the ever-changing complexities of parenthood in the 21st century.
LISTEN: How do we deal with grief, loss & prejudice?
My Theatre Mates co-founder Terri Paddock chaired with an exclusive post-show Q&A with Late Company's cast and director when it transferred to Trafalgar Studios.
Proudly in support of the new production CEO of CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably), Simon Gunning explains: “Late Company is a powerful play that centres around the highly difficult themes of bullying, suicide, sexuality, and family dynamics. These themes are insightfully handled; there is a sensitivity and awareness that does not shy away from a harsh reality. CALM is proud to support a show that starts the conversation of stigma surrounding mental health, as well as the dark side of social media and high-school hierarchy. Suicide is the biggest killer of young men in the UK, and those who are bereaved by suicide face a brutal journey. This confrontational play is beautifully cast, acted, and directed; and will certainly help to spread the word about the devastation of suicide.”
The production is directed by Michael Yale, with set and costumes by Zahra Mansouri, lighting by Nic Farman and sound by Chris Prosho. The full and original cast for Late Company will be reprising their roles in the production including Todd Boyce (Michael), David Leopold (Curtis), Alex Lowe (Bill), Lucy Robinson (Debora) and Lisa Stevenson(Tamara).
Late Company runs at the West End’s Trafalgar Studios 2 until 16 September 2017.
Libby Purves: “The intimacy and force of Michael Yale’s production is riveting… Robinson brings a real sense of danger to the bereaved mother, brittle and over-poised. Of Leopold, fresh out of drama school, I can’t speak too highly.”
★★★★★ – Broadway World UK
Cindy Marcolina: “Tannahill’s play provides bountiful insights on teen suicide, sexuality, bullying, and even parenthood. A definitely triumphant West End transfer, Late Company is the reminder of the complex and impenetrable nature of the relationship between loss and blame.”
Henry Hitchings: “Michael Yale’s production is nicely observed, peeling back its characters’ layers of delusion and pretentiousness… It’s the apparently ordinary Curtis who is most intriguing, and David Leopold’s restrained performance captures adolescent glumness while hinting at the anguish that lies beneath.”
Claire Allfree: “This tightly coiled evening thrives on the proximity between actors and audience. It’s been a while since I left a show feeling so winded. Best of all, Tannahill’s writing fizzes with authenticity. His arrow sharp dialogue is by turns comic and excruciating.”
Will Longman: “Loss conjures some of the darkest of human emotions: grief, anger, spite, guilt… Playwright Jordan Tannahill explores it all in his emotional blast of a play… Throughout the 75 minutes, Lucy Robinson portrays the fragile Debora explosively, and I dare anyone not to be moved by the reading of her letter to the boy who bullied her son to death… It’s a powerful play with tapping in to some o the toughest human emotions, and it really is a play you should see.”
Scott Matthewman: “[In] Jordan Tannahill’s taut and moving play… nobody is presented as clear-cut hero, no one is a villain… It is the slow burn of David Leopold’s Curtis, who starts out as a monosyllabic, reluctant participant and who blossoms into the most sensitive and compassionate of the dinner party guests, who holds the evening together. Reminders that school bullies are the same children who spent years in the same class together, often as friends, filter in with a deft simplicity.”
Abigail Bryant: “Late Company…delicately and sensitively handles the repercussions of tragedy with nuance and catharsis. It touches on hypocrisy, mental health discourse and the woes of contemporary parenting, and although difficult to digest… It’s hugely important and moving. Just don’t forget your tissues.”
★★★★★ – Jonathan Baz Reviews
Bhakti Gajjar: “Late Company is a high-calibre, punchy production with excellence running through every strand. After launching from an intriguing premise, it runs rapidly through a series of highly pertinent themes, sparking thoughts that continue well after the figurative curtain falls.”
Tom Birchenough: “The cast is excellent, Lucy Robinson outstanding as we come to appreciate the chasm between her social niceties and her aching grief as a mother. David Leopold as Curtis is remarkable too… We’re sure to be hearing more of Tannahill’s name: what a powerful piece of drama, its pained leanness immaculately caught in Michael Yale’s production.”
Tim Baros: “Tannahill has written a timely and evocative play that’s very relevant today in a world of constant bullying and peer pressure and what seems like the lack of rules on social media. Late Company is a short 75 minutes but it packs a wallop during this time and at the end, you will find that your heart has dropped into your stomach. A must see!”
★★★★★ – Love London Love Culture
Emma Clarendon: “This blistering play simmers with tension from beginning to end, beautifully building into an extremely confrontational climax – that really shakes the audience to the core… Late Company is an angry and powerful piece of relevant drama that doesn’t fail to make an impact on the audience.”
John Nathan: “This is a closely observed exploration of grief written with such wit and nuance it makes you wonder what Tannahill can produce as a mature writer… It’s an incredibly powerful evening… The crackle of Tannahill’s writing and five terrific performances do the work.”
Matt Hyde: “This is a truly cathartic evening. We go into the theatre, we laugh, we cry and we emerge having experienced something special.”
Johnny Fox: “Trafalgar Studios’ intimate set-up is perfect for the dinner-party at the core of Late Company, a short but near-perfect play juggling homophobia, cyber-bullying and parental responsibility.”
Connor Campbell: “The playwright is careful to show that things like Facebook and YouTube aren’t just cesspits of (relatively) unmonitored abuse, but spaces that allow freedom for those potentially denied personal expression at home or at school.”
Elliot Jordan: “Intense and, well-directed and well-written… Tannahill takes us on a deep and dark debate on teen suicide, responsibility, depression and other big issues.”