BWW Review: THE GOOD LANDLORD, VAULT Festival
A wonderful flat in Central London. You can see Big Ben from one of the windows and you can walk to work. All this for a ridiculous price. "Where's the catch?". Tom and Ed are flat-hunting and stumble upon the perfect accommodation, but something's not right.
It turns out that the landlord has scattered cameras all over for "security purposes", like the estate agent says. While Ed is enticed by the idea, Tom finds it difficult to settle into a home where he's constantly being observed. Written by Michael Ross, The Good Landlord tackles the London housing crisis in an unsettling dark comedy that doesn't truly hit the right spot.
Rupert Sadler and Maximilian Davey become the odd couple: the first is the confident Ed, ready to take the chance to live in a desirable neighbourhood, the latter turns Tom into a dysphoric and scaredy Tom, who would rather hit the streets instead. The play doesn't spare gags and black humour but their cheap and over-acted nature largely lacks subtlety in its delivery.
Director Cat Robey presents it in the round, which adds to the voyeuristic atmosphere of the piece and lets the audience become the landlord. She has Sadler walk around with his eyes to the ceiling, speaking to the unknown entity that's keeping watch while Davey's anxious inclination leads him to cover up in panic.
As the ruthless estate agent Clarissa, Phoebe Batteson-Brown is pragmatic and energetic in her irony. She goes head to head with her character's PA Bryony, played by Tiwalade Ibirogba Olulode. The two women balance the male cast but don't add much interest to an unfortunately stagnant storyline.
Albeit possessing some interesting directorial touches, The Good Landlord is a predictable tale that tries to be more satirical than it actually turns out to be.