C, Edinburgh
August, 2000

Eddie de Oliveira's writing and his young In Human Form company (aged 16-22) continue to show promise, but haven't quite got there yet.

As with last year's The Baa Baa Boys, de Oliveira writes principally about a group of his own generation, intercutting the main plot with bigger and more Machiavellian dealings; in this case, a trio of lads come up to the seething metropolis together to go to college and share a flat, become involved in a love quadrilateral and develop a taste for recreational chemcicals, and find themselves embroiled in their cowboy landlord's scheme to buy part of the privatised Underground network.

De Oliveira directs his cast well; Ravi Kothakota in particular makes excellent work of self-consciously shady landlord and wannabe wheeler-dealer Deepak. His script is sharp and often witty, but frequently just that little bit overwritten, and in the climactic scene he works too hard at ratcheting the drama up. He's also fond of inserting non-naturalistic comic interludes, which perhaps he should get out of his system by doing an entire visual/physical comedy show. He will, I think, reach his cruising altitude in two or three years' time, when he settles into a particular register of subject matter and theatrical treatment and gets past the current stage of intelligent effortfulness.

Written for the Financial Times Web site,

Copyright Ian Shuttleworth; all rights reserved.

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