Cornelius

Sam Yates + Cornelius
Tuesday, September 27 th, 2016 at 00:09 am Dr. Joy Browne
Director (s):
Sam Yates
Starring:
Emily Barber, Alex Bartram, Robin Browne, Pandora Colin, Alan Cox, David Ellis, Andrew Fallaize, Col Farrell, Beverley Klein, Jamie Newall, Xanthe Patterson, Simon Rhodes
Genre:
Drama, Play
Theme:
Impending Doom

Cornelius is at 59E59th, which is a very interested theatre group that either does really well or really poorly, because they do very off-beat kind of stuff. This is part of Brits Off Broadway and written by one of Britain’s greatest dramatists J.B. Priestly, who’s most famous work was probably An Inspector Calls, and was very popular from the 30s to the 50s. This is a play that is set in London in 1935, so just before World War II but between wars, and has to deal with a company that sells aluminium, aluminum to the rest of us, and it has a huge cast of about ten people in it, and is all set in the office of Briggs and Murrison. There apparently is no Mr. Briggs, but there is a Mr. Murrison, and he’s out beating the bushes to try and get some new customers because the company is on its last legs. Cornelius, who is played by Alan Cox, who I believe is Brian Cox’s son, is really good in this. He has a lot of energy and on the one hand seems to be kind of tough and on the other a sort of marshmallowy kind of guy. He has a secretary who of course is homely and in love with him, a missing typist, and an office boy who’s really upset because he’s been there five years and is now nineteen and is still being treated as a child, and the sort of older man who’s the accountant, and other various people come and go. The idea is the company is on its last legs and Cornelius is trying to hold it all together while the bank creditors are coming. My problem about this is that it’s just unremittingly grim. There are occasional moments, but it’s a story you can see is going to end disastrously and sadly. I’ll comment about plays that are really well written with a not very good cast or not very well directed, or plays that have a great cast but isn’t a great piece of literature. I would put this one in the latter category, even though it was written by J.B. Priestly, I thought the cast was uniformly talented but it never really gelled for me, perhaps because it’s so grim and you can see it’s going to end badly and nothing really happens. If you’re a Priestly fan, this may be something you should see, and if not I’d skip it.

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