In Roaring Trade, Steve Thompson shines a light on the murky world of bond trading in the shiny towers of Canary Wharf where everyone claims to be living the dream. Written in 2009 just as this world came tumbling down, Thompson’s play scratches the surface to show us flawed characters making decisions they will come to regret.
The stage is set with four desks and we quickly meet the four traders vying to be top dog when it comes to bonus day by gambling millions of their clients’ money in the hope of making millions more. PJ, the ageing trader struggling to paper over the cracks in his family life and keep his pushy wife in the lifestyle she has come to expect. Donny, the top-dog being edged aside by incoming Cambridge graduate Spoon (a nickname he quickly acquires from Donny who accuses him of having been born with a silver spoon in his mouth) and last, but by no means least, Jess, the cynical trader who knows how to play the game and is happy to flirt her way to the deal.
For those less aware of the workings of the markets, there is a well written scene where Donny uses a ketchup sachet to explain the concept of debt ownership to his teenage son. While the backdrop is the trading floor and the allure of the killer deal that will come to roost on bonus day, this play is about people. These traders are all making deals in their lives outside the office too and these play out on the trading floor.
The characters may sound obvious: ageing trader, barrow boy done good, posh new kid on the block and femme fatale but the acting is good enough to overlook this as we’re carried along with the fast paced dialogue and swift set changes.
The set is simple, the brash back projection moves us from the towers of Canary Wharf to the Bloomberg screens of the traders and out to PJ’s home, Donny’s lunch with his son, the tube station and Spoon’s flat.
Roaring Trade makes for an entertaining evening at Park Theatre, the characters are not nice people but we can’t turn away as they suck us into their secret world. This gem of a theatre is well worth the trip to Finsbury Park to see acting up close.
Reviewed by Rhiannon Evans
Roaring Trade is playing at the Park Theatre until 24 October 2015. Click here for tickets