Vanguard Theatre’s A Cool Million is a brutally deadpan comedy and a relevant and vicious satire on a society where greed is good, and everyone is out to make a quick buck.
In this world premiere at the Brockley Jack Studio Theatre in South London, three vaudevillian performers create the epic story of Lemuel Pitkin, an impoverished yet eternally optimistic young man who sets out to make his fortune at the height of the Great Depression. What could possibly go wrong?
Big city grifters; fluttering heroines; carnival hustlers; corrupt cops, lawyers and politicians; gold diggers; sinister foreigners; and the rise of a Fascist state. They play 76 characters in 75 minutes – with songs.
A Cool Million or The Dismantling of Lemuel Pitkin, adapted by Joss Bennathan, was written by Nathanael West whose bizarre and satirical novels are growing in popularity and are a staple part of the Twentieth Century American literary cannon.
Other works by West, such as The Day of the Locust, have had various adaptations, most notably Punchdrunk’s A Drowned Man, which was partly inspired by the story.
Cast: Matthew Ashcroft, Robert Durbin and James Macnaughton.
A Cool Million runs at the Brockley Jack from October 27-November 14.