I love a good history lesson and when that lesson is given with a flair for detailing peoples attitude towards class, snobbery, the fact that governments can be hoodwinked , skullduggery galore, arrogant behaviour , incessant name dropping all executed with superb eloquence and articulation, Ian Lindsay & Jeremy Cantrell play Chines Whispers is as fine as a lovely cup of Earl Grey served in a bone china cup and saucer . The play tells the story of Sir Edmund Backhouse a notorious con man who was also a homosexual who basically fleeced the Chinese Imperial family and the American bank note company. Mark Farrelly is ideally cast as Backhouse bringing an Edwardian drawing room style to the role tinged with an air of wickedness. His deliberate asides to the audience give the play a tempo and the Pythonesque staging complete with animated sequences give the play depth, The play is full of ‘in jokes’ perhaps unknown to some of the audience but this also adds to the intrigue of the play. I liked the idea that a quick trip to google was inevitable which after viewing the info made me understand the characters evenmore . Whispers is a wonderful study in the power of greed and where a human being who is a complete fantasist can manipulate others around him regardless of the consequences , Great informative fun.
4 stars , runs to the 23rd July , Greenwich Theatre , Box office 020 8858 7755 greenwichtheatre.org.uk