Review: The baffling How A Man Crumbled, Mimetic Festival at the Vaults
Review: Culture shift in 1970s Salford - East is East, Trafalgar Studios

Review: The life of the banking intern in Run, New Diorama Theatre

Runbox2-1Set in a City bank, Run follows four recruits on their 10-week internship. Inspired by the true story of banking intern Moritz Erhardt, who died after apparently working for 72 hours, the Engineer Theatre Collective has spoken to a number of interns to devise a fictional piece about the prospective bankers of tomorrow.

There is the slightly geeky one who has a bit of a conscience and whom doubts whether commodities trading is for him. Then there is the posh one who's placement seems purely down to nepotism. There are two women; one is from Europe who is sharp, efficient and aloof and seems to handle everything thrown at her and the normal one who is clever and hard working but feels the strain of the long hours.

Staged in the round with very few props there are surprisingly few surprises. Perhaps there have been too many headlines about bankers and I've become desensitised to the whole thing. Perhaps knowing about the events that influenced the story in advance eliminates some of the shock value. Instead there is mild intrigue about which it will be rather than how it comes to happen.

Certain conversations are satisfying for reiterating previously conceived impressions and they are very well done. There is also some nicely observed and often amusing office and flat share behaviour.

But, if this is a piece about how the bankers of tomorrow are shaped then the only conclusion you can draw is that they are either arseholes to start with or are made that way by being worked like dogs in a highly competitive environment.

It feels more like a character piece rather than a statement about banking internships. You never really get any idea of what they are actually doing and why it is so pressurised other than it is something with spread sheets. Neither do you see what their superiors are like and how they treat the interns other than brief mentions here and there. It's just the slightly claustrophobic world of the interns.

But even as a character piece you don't feel like you really get under the skin. Our moral dilemma intern doesn't seem to agonise too much, for example. There are a couple of melt downs as you'd expect given the subject matter, flirtations, friendships and fre-nemies too but the deeper impact on them, their friends and family is only occasionally alluded too.

It is fascinating to watch in a way but I couldn't help wishing for just a bit more bite or a bit more context. It is very well performed although the strange dance sequence and running in circles added little to the overall experience.

Run continues at the New Diorama Theatre until 29 November and is 90 minutes straight through.