October 28th 2007
By Christopher Hart
years or so as a cartoon strip in The Daily Telegraph, Alex Masterley, the
insensitive City boy we all love to hate, takes to the stage in his very own
show. The result is not only blissfully funny but also imaginatively staged by
Phelim McDermott. Alex himself is perfectly played by Robert Bathurst, with lazy
drawl and smug smile, but the virtuoso Bathurst also voices every other
character, each appearing as roughly animated cartoons on screens around him.
There is Clive, Alex’s permanently blushing and put-upon colleague; Penny, his
poor wife; and Mr Hardcastle, the Yorkshire business tycoon who owns a “widget
factory” or something, where he actually still makes things, Alex says in
bafflement – “And he’s not even Chinese.” As in the strip, Charles Peattie and
Russell Taylor’s sallies are smart and topical, but there is also neat
characterisation and a proper plot, with Hardcastle’s business at the heart of
it. City boys will enjoy it as much as anybody.