Nobody likes Ben. Ben doesn’t even like Ben. He bullies everyone in his life, including his roommate Kalyan, an earnest Nepalese immigrant. When Ben discovers that his school crush is marrying a straight-laced banker, he sets out to destroy their relationship and win her back.
Scott Elliott’s production was sleek and full of humour yet lacked gravitas. The events and atmosphere of the play remain consistently calm until the final moments which see some disbelief and screaming.
Eisenburg’s writing is reputable. The humour very sharp and intelligent alongside the characters which are all fleshed out and individual, contrasting immensely against each other yet also complimenting strongly. Ben is arrogant, self-loathing and and patronising; ultimately achieving the redemption which he doesn’t really deserve. Eisenberg is predictable within this role, playing to his strengths.
Kunal Nayyar as Ben’s gentle roommate, Kalyan, is the character we feel most for as he is goaded by his so-called best friend, accepting his practically sociopathic ways before facing the ultimate betrayal.
Annapurna Sriram shines as Kalyan’s pushy girlfriend Reshma, who has the good sense to loathe Ben, and Alfie Allen is a delight as the happily oblivious Ted. As compassionate Sarah, Katie Brayben brings genuine sensitivity, but her continued tolerance of Ben is perplexing.
The Spoils is playing the Trafalgar Studios until August 13. For more information and tickets, see Trafalgar Studios website.
Director: Scott Elliott
Playwright: Jesse Eisenberg
Cast: Jesse Eisenberg, Kunal Nayyar, Alfie Allen, Katie Brayben, Annapurna Sriram
Photo: Monique Carboni