PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 30 September, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 30 September, 2008, 12:00am


Drama Theatre, HKAPA

Reviewed: Sept 24

Now that the term 'meltdown' refers not to Britney Spears but the state of our global economy, the timing of this stage adaptation of the British comic strip by Charles Peattie and Russell Taylor about an investment banker in the City of London couldn't be better.

Directed by Phelim McDermott, Alex follows the life of its eponymous hero, made into flesh and blood by British actor Robert Bathurst, through the cutthroat and sometimes shady world of corporate finance. His daily goal is not only to survive but to stay on top of the game - something he's good at.

Smug, scheming and selfish, Alex is a BlackBerry-thumbing corporate financier who takes pride in all the perks that his profession has to offer. He would sacrifice everything, even his marriage, to keep his job.

And that's exactly the decision he has to make when his firm and clients are hit by the downturn forcing him to spend less time at home. Will Alex be able to weather it all and still come out on top?

Bathurst (below) really gets into the skin of his character and plays out the latest crisis in Alex's life with much humour and drama. His supporting cast includes his boss Rupert, wife Penny, client Hardcastle and junior Sebastien - all animations projected onto mobile screens and voiced by the actor.

What makes this show tick is not just the fun poked at the world of corporate finance, but the great characterisation. Despite Alex being a lousy banker and an even lousier husband, Bathurst's witty and at times sympathetic portrayal makes him almost likeable.