The Spoils, a new play written by The Social Network star Jesse Eisenberg, has just transferred from Broadway to London’s Trafalgar Studios for the Summer season.
The story is centred around flat mates Ben and Kalyan, who have become best friends over the years. Ben is a rich-kid from New York whose daddy bought him an apartment. He spends his days pretending to be a film maker but mostly just sits around drinking beer and smoking pot. Kalyan is in New York from Nepal, to study and get his education. When Ben runs into old school friend Ted in the street, he is overcome with emotion to find out he is set to marry Ben’s childhood love Sarah (although he never confessed his love for her). In a bid of desperation he attempts to befriend the couple in order to display his love for her and win her over with his charm and interesting anicdotes. But how far is he prepared to go to stop the wedding and does he really even want her or is he just depressed and bored in life and looking for something to do.
As with many plays, The Spoils takes a while to really get going and act 1 is mostly about setting the scene, getting to know the characters and setting the traps that will explode in act 2.
Alfie Allen (Ted) is animated and looks like he has been plucked from Avenue Q with his overly expressive movements and quirky accent. Katie Brayben (Sarah) proves once again with this play that she is a solid actress and delivers her comedy lines with deadpan face and perfect timing to get the audience laughing. Kunal Nayar (Kalyan) from the TV comedy show The Big Bang Theory is similar to his character from the show but displays a more grown up, manly version of himself. Annapurna Sriram (as girlfriend Reshma) has some nice moments and ultimately helps to keep things moving in the show.
Set design by Derek McLane was nicely done with a swanky New York apartment setting where the action takes place and direction by Scott Elliott gave the right amount of feeling when the characters were being weirded out by the others and felt uncomfortable.
The Spoils is a well written American play, with some of the humour not transferring perfectly to London but enough there to make us laugh with the crudeness and chaos that ensues in act 2.
Reviewed by West End Wilma
Photo: Oliver Rosser
THE SPOILS plays at Trafalgar Studios until 13 August 2016. Tickets