17 March 2004 | paul2001sw-1
Business as Usual
Tony Grounds scripted the sublime 'Births, Deaths and Marriages', which concluded with a character attempting to commit suicide by setting himself in concrete but failing due to not choosing a quick setting mix, and the emotionally intense 'Bodily Harm'. 'Family Business', however, is more routine fare, a rather heavy handed and obvious "family" drama. Jamie Foreman plays Marky Brooker, a builder whose absurdly idealised notions of family somehow persist until his son finally has enough and runs away from home. Unable to sort out his own, Marky tries instead to fix the family lives of his customers, a notion that could be funny but which is played straight here. The predictable ending, in which everything turns out alright although none of the characters appears to have undergone much of a personal journey, is dramatically bizarre, and the dialogue is also strange: Grounds may have wanted to avoid the slickness of manicured repartee, but his alternative device, of characters unable to finish their sentences, seems just as stylised and soon grows wearisome. The cast do their best but there's little vitality in the piece. A disappointment.