Black clouds on a comic horizon

Chimps, by Simon Block, runs at the New Wolsey theatre in Ipswich until Saturday, May 16.SALESMEN in Ipswich may never be let into homes in the town again!So vividly did the New Wolsey's current play, Chimps, depict the destruction and mayhem that ensued when a pair of persistent salesmen entered a young couple's home, that audience members will surely be filled with a sense of dread next time their doorbells ring.

Rebecca Lefort

Chimps, by Simon Block, runs at the New Wolsey theatre in Ipswich until Saturday, May 16.

SALESMEN in Ipswich may never be let into homes in the town again!

So vividly did the New Wolsey's current play, Chimps, depict the destruction and mayhem that ensued when a pair of persistent salesmen entered a young couple's home, that audience members will surely be filled with a sense of dread next time their doorbells ring.

The Ipswich theatre new production is a psychological thriller and a cautionary tale, which highlights the power of that old saying - divide and conquer.

Everyone will be able to recognise parts of themselves and those they know in the play's four characters.

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There's Stevie, the put-upon pregnant graphic designer who has no problems closing the door firmly in the face of a salesman.

Her partner, Mark, who isn't quite as successful at that, or many other things as it happens, but believes his big break is just around the corner when he finally finishes his A, B, C children's book (He's on B is for Bunny at the moment).

Then we meet Gabriel, a slick, fast-talking salesmen who puts making a quick buck before everything else.

And finally Lawrence, his middle-aged partner in crime, who isn't quite sure if he really has the killer instinct for closing the deal.

The four actors, including Jenny Platt who is well known for her role in Coronation Street, bring the characters to life brilliantly with witty, intelligent dialogue.

The subtleties of the complex relationships are portrayed in every small move, while the humour had the audience laughing out loud regularly.

Chimps was first performed in 1997 but seems to fit in perfectly with today's recession-hit age.

Mark and Lawrence are both deeply affected by unemployment. They are vulnerable and emasculated because of their struggles to provide for their family.

Brainy Stevie worries about the vicious circle of debt and loan repayments and how arguments about money can rip people apart.

Meanwhile Gabriel is the perfect personification of modern-day concerns over unbridled capitalism. He's very good at what he does - making money - but does not seem bothered about the destructive impact his actions could have on society.

Despite the brightly coloured, happy-go-lucky, promotional material (which could give the decidedly wrong impression that it is a play for children) Chimps really is a very, very black comedy.

There isn't much to celebrate in this world where everyone is swindling everyone else in their own way.

But thankfully for the audience, it also is a very good comedy too.

Rebecca Lefort

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