It's A Family Affair... (We'll Settle It Ourselves)
Sherman Cymru – It’s A Family Affair (We’ll Settle It Ourselves)
It’s A Family Affairâ€¦ (We’ll Settle It Ourselves), a modern take on Alexander Ostrovsky’s 19th Century Russian comedy, does well to satirise the capitalist, money driven (or should that be credit driven) society of both past and present.
Set during the emergence of the merchant classes (or ‘Nouveau Riche’) in Moscow, financial difficulties are rife, businesses are closing left, right and center and bankruptcy is a daily occurrence.
It’s A Family Affair (to be called Family Affair from hereon for the sake of ease) follows the family/friends/servants of Bolshov, an aging merchant struggling to find a way to save his failing wealth, whilst also trying to shift his daughter Lipochka onto an appropriate suitor. Following advice from the morally questionable — yet largely harmless — alcoholic lawyer, Rispolochensky, Bolshov puts a dubious plan into motion using his trusty clerk Lazar as a means of protecting his money. However, with more and more people becoming embroiled in the scheme, is it really Bolshov pulling the strings?
Having gone to see Family Affair for the second time after first viewing it at the previews on the 25th September, I can say that this truly is an enjoyable piece of theatre. Simon Crowther has done a stellar job on the adaptation, with the piece feeling completely modern without losing its grounding in an important historical time. The same goes for Roisin McBrinn, who has made some brilliant actors shine here along with the entire design, sound and light team for creating a beautiful and engaging environment for the show to take place in.
Without going too much into the plot of the show, which manages to be completely nonsensical and yet make perfect sense at the same time, the cast of eight talented actors work together superbly bouncing from each other with energy that is a pleasure to watch. With each of the characters delivering jokes and one liners constantly throughout the dialogue, you would think that it may begin to become jarring, here however that is not the case: a clever combination of snappy writing and seamless delivery allow the show to run smoothly.
William Thomas in the role of Bolshov proves his reputation as a class act, by although taking a backseat from a comedy perspective, acts as the cement that holds this together as a tangible show. Thomas plays a believable husband/father to Agrafena and Lepochka (Ri Richards and Rachel Redford respectively) while still delivering some good lines of his own.
The mother-daughter dynamic between Richards and Redford is particularly enjoyable to watch with Richards embodying the frustrated and slightly hypocritical mother to Redford’s larger-than-life sexually frustrated and demanding teenager. Guy Lewis, Sian Reeves and Gareth Tempest also assured themselves as memorable with their quirky and energetic portrayals of Rispolochensky, Ustinya and Tishka, with Family Affair actually being Tempest’s first professional credit.
However, personally from sheer hilarity’s point of view, Lee Menga as Lazar and and Valmai Jones as Fominishna get the gold star here. Almost every word that came from Jones’s mouth as the doddery maid had me in stitches, and Menga’s unrelenting humour — which I thought was particularly strong in the last act of the show — made being in the audience a joy.
My only disappointment in my viewings have been the relatively small number of people beside me in the auditorium and how poorly it reflects on the quality of the show.
So, if you like the sound of the above, the show runs until this Saturday, get yourself down to Sherman Cymru and give it the audience it deserves.
Tickets cost £12, but under 25s go half price!