REVIEW: LATE COMPANY (Finborough Theatre) ★★★★

The Finborough Theatre hosts the European premiere of Late Company, a play from award winning Canadian playwright, Jordan Tannahill. Late Company was written in 2013 when Tannahill was 23 and was inspired by the suicide of one of his peers. The play explores the challenges of teenagers and their parents in the 21st century.

The scene is set for a dinner party in a smart home but this is no usual social evening. A year after the death of a teenage boy, his grieving parents invite his classmate, Curtis, and his parents for dinner with a place set for their lost son. As the reasons for this awkward evening are revealed we hear of bullying both online and in person in a world where teenagers live lives online away from their parents’ gaze. Can these families ever put the past behind them? Is restorative justice the answer? Are there some things that can never be forgiven?

The play has five characters, all with things to hide and secrets to reveal through the skilful writing. The cast draw us in as we sit almost at the table with them in this small theatre. Todd Boyce and Lucy Robinson play Michael and Deborah, grieving the loss of their only child and regretting inviting these strangers into their home. Lisa Stevenson plays Tamara, keen for closure and over-compensating for her nerves; Alex Lowe plays her husband Bill, suspicious of the whole thing. David Leopold is Curtis, the silent teenager, uncomfortable with himself as well as the situation.

In 70 minutes, Late Company takes the audience on a rollercoaster of emotions with some graphic descriptions of horrible acts. It’s not a jolly play but you will see good actors performing a well written play addressing some current issues. This may be a Canadian play but its messages cross borders.

Reviewed by Rhiannon Evans