If something sounds too good to be true then it usually is, especially when it’s ridiculously low rent in central London. Written by the late Michael Ross and presented by Metamorph Theatre, the satirical comedy, The Good Landlord tackles a bizarre combination of voyeurism and self doubt in a fantastically funny and energetic performance.
When two friends, Ed and Tom find their ideal Central London Apartment for only £800 a month it seems like a steal. The only downside, for Tom anyway, is that the landlord has installed cameras in every room (yes, even the bathroom). Lettings agent and boss from hell, Clarissa explains its all for security, and the fact that the apartment is only for men under 25 of a particular physique has no bearing on the situation at all. Tom isn’t convinced, and neither is Bryony, who tries to defy Clarissa to rescue Tom from the clutches of the unseen landlord.
The lack of a set for this production of The Good Landlord, directed by Cat Robey, does nothing to diminish the production, in fact I barely noticed that aside from a chair there’s nothing else on stage but the actors. That says a lot about the writing, which skilfully blends the satirical and the plausible to create a very enjoyable piece of theatre.
Maximilian Davey gives a wonderfully understated performance as Tom, his approach is natural and endearing, cementing his character as the hero of the piece. In contrast, Rupert Sadler’s Ed is gloriously over the top, relishing in the characters ambivalence to the situation, teasing and playing with the landlord, and indulging in long winded diatribes against everyone and anyone.
Phoebe Batteson-Brown plays Clarissa so well you find yourself desperate to rise up out of your seat and tell her to piss off. She also plays well against Tiwalade Ibirogba Olulode’s naive, but well meaning Bryony, the second hero of the piece.
Although the ending seems to come a little too quickly, and with much left hanging, there is a sense that to have continued would have taken away from the overall message of the play. Tom’s feelings of inadequacy about his body, and the theme of how much privacy you are willing to surrender resonate strongly amongst the satirical and outlandish comedy.
Metamorph Theatre have done an excellent job with this staging of The Good Landlord, they have allowed the power of the comedic writing to shine through, supplemented by some very accomplished performances. So, if something does seem good to be true then it probably is, except this play which proves itself to be exceptionally good in every way.