Theatre review

Niky Wardley as Anita McCracken in A Small Family Business.
Niky Wardley as Anita McCracken in A Small Family Business.

A Small Family Affair, by Alan Ayckbourn, screened from the National Theatre to South Holland Centre, Spalding.

Alan Ayckbourn’s A Small Family Business is a gloriously funny farce with a serious message at its heart.

It was written to address the greed and selfishness of the 1980s, but is equally applicable to today. Director Adam Penford admitted it needed no updating or tweaking for contemporary audiences.

It’s the story of Jack McCracken (played by Nigel Lindsay) who, after taking over the family firm, discovers that his nearest and dearest are all on the take, squeezing money out of the business to improve their own lives.

Jack’s a man of principle and wants to introduce “basic trust” back into the business, but is greeted with howls of, “Do you have to be so unbelievably honest?”

His attempts at uncovering the dishonesty going on at the factory results in him being blackmailed by a nasty little man, private investigator Benedict Hough played to disgustingly dribbling effect by Matthew Cottle.

The story is a lesson in where greed and dishonesty can lead, with the family battling outside forces of evil, while a tragedy is unfolding unnoticed at home.

It was brilliantly performed by all the cast with some strong character acting.

Jean Hodge