The Young Tycoons

22 May

It’s obvious who The Young Tycoons is about. And some of the best laughs of the show come from this cheekiness.

This is the third outing for C J Johnson’s play and it’s a lot of fun.

Director Michael Pigott elicits good comic performances from all his cast. Edmund Lembke-Hogan and Laurence Coy both offer an amusing take on the volatile mix of privilege and stupidity. Terry Serio shines as the gruff commonsense right-hand man. Paige Gardiner, as the model girlfriend of a young mogul, is charming and ditsy in all the right places. James Lugton is articulate, intelligent and charismatic as a “Ferguson” journalist. (I think it was “Ferguson”. Definitely some F surname. Definitely not Fairfax.)

Photo by Noni Carroll

Photo by Noni Carroll

The Young Tycoons is witty and engaging, though the large number of scene changes proves a challenge.

This is a very precise satire. (Some might think my choice of adjective euphemistic.) The play doesn’t expose, or explore, all the dreadful ramifications of concentrating immense power in the hands of an oligarchy. It focuses more on the personal lives of the two billionaire media families. The characters come across as reasonably likeable, and only minor injuries are sustained as they clumsily stumble on the discarded remnants of a whole lot of broken moral compasses.

So, is this satire without bite? Just a sort of celebrity gossip piece?

No, I think it draws attention to an extraordinary fault line in our society. The dramatic tension of this play is the divisive concept of ‘dynasty’. Are you really going to get to run the business just because Daddy did?

It’s truly bizarre, that in a heartless capitalist society driven solely by profits, we would still consider passing on power through bloodlines.

For me, the play is not just a gentle taunting of privileged rich kids. Rather, it’s a forceful reminder that an all-consuming materialism simply will not meet our human needs. Not even the needs of those, who drowning in excess, have lost their way.

Veronica Kaye


The Young Tycoons by C J Johnson

Eternity Playhouse til 15 Jun

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