a comedy by Neil Fleming
Directed by Geoff Church
Designed by Agnes Treplin
Lighting by Howard Hudson
23-April 16, 2011 at Theatre503, London
A Hydrocracker-Theatre503 co-production
With James Wilby, Pip Donaghy, Helen Millar and
Neil Fleming's Faustian tale about power and love unpicked the worlds of
management, and management consultancy, and took a hard look at the relationships we build - and destroy -
each time we go out to work.
Now also translated into German by award-winning German playwright Ulrike Syha, and available in German from publisher-agent Per H Lauke Verlag, Hamburg. See also Theatertexte for details.
"Hydrocracker turns the business world into intriguing and gripping theatre...
The cast of four, led by Pip Donaghy and James Wilby, is terrific; the swerves of
their dialogue intrigue and grip; the crisp staging against Agnes Treplin's
gleamingly Modernist set keeps the tension high. Even the scene-changes are exciting
with their jabs of light and rattles of machinery... (Donaghy gives) a riveting
performance...If it becomes hard to believe anyone like Donaghy's James
actually exists, the insights into the dark mysteries of his craft remain fascinating."
Jeremy Kingston, The Times
"Brighton's Hydrocracker company makes its London debut with this lively
new play by Neil Fleming... Fleming is at his best when he writes about the mechanics
of external expertise... Fleming offers some sharply funny satire on business waffle
and is shrewd enough to suggest that consultants occasionally expose the gentlemanly
amateurism of the commercial sector... Geoff Church's production is also vigorously
acted by a strong cast. Pip Donaghy as the maniacal James, Helen Millar as his seductive
sidekick, James Wilby as the nervy executive and Sian Webber as his strong-minded
spouse put flesh on Fleming's argument that we live in a credulous age in which
management consultants are treated with a superstitious awe once reserved for alchemists
Billington, The Guardian
"Entertaining and genuinely funny. Fleming has an ear for dialogue and dissects the
meaningless jargon of the corporate world - 'paradigm shifts' and 'metrics
embedded in workflow' - with real sharpness and flair."
Alistair Smith, The Stage
"Fleming is a lively, pleasingly cynical writer. (Pip) Donaghy is a modern-day
Satan, slithering around on his wheels and spitting out words like poisoned darts.
Miriam Gillinson, Time Out
Read Neil Fleming's consulting blog in The Guardian
Photo by Agnes Treplin
Hugo Shackleton is a man in trouble.
And the trouble is: he doesn't even know it.
Chief of a struggling hi-tech company,
hounded by competitors, despised by his
own Board of Directors, he needs a Big Idea
to turn his business around.
Except if he comes up with one his wife will leave him.
Into their world rolls James Ross, a charismatic management consultant with a dark
past, wheelchair-bound, furious with all mankind, and brilliant.
With him comes Nicola Patchett,
ferocious strategy analyst, member of Mensa,
and a threat to Hugo's marriage of another kind.
James promises Hugo he can change him forever.
But once you sign up
with The Consultant, he never leaves.