The Same Deep Water As Me** (Donmar Warehouse, 30 August 2013)

Posted: August 31, 2013 in Theatre

Early in Nick Payne’s new play a character begins to tell a tantalising joke and gets interrupted so that we never hear the end; this really sums up the whole play – full of promise but lacking that crucial punchline. Centring on a fairly shady law firm, specialising in no win no fee personal injury claims, the story contains nothing that will surprise anyone who has become accustomed to exorbitant motor insurance premiums. There are plenty of laughs but they come mostly from a very condescending view of the Precariat class which is depicted stereotypically as foul-mouthed, uncouth and avaricious. This presents an easy target, but, in the much more difficult task of delving into and satirising modern compensation culture, the play lacks bite and its cutting edge is diminished further by a superfluous romantic sub plot. The actors, led by Daniel Mays, are all good and the production is never less than entertaining, but, as it should have delivered a lot more, it has to be regarded as a disappointment.

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