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Affluent New Yorkers are serially conned by a clever confidence trickster in John Guare’s fact-inspired 1990 play about a young black hustler who convinces them he’s film star Sidney Poitier’s son and flatters their egos with the promise of bit parts in a movie version of Cats.

Less interested in financial gain than acceptance into an otherwise inaccessible elite society, Obi Abili’s charmingly reinvented Paul touches something deeper in Lesley Manville’s chic Ouisa, even after she and her art-dealing husband discover the deception.

David Grindley’s swift production can’t overcome the self-conscious nature of the writing, and subsidiary characters are sketchily drawn, but there’s enough wit to sustain the 90 minutes of this satire on the lifestyle and values of well-heeled liberals.

LOUISE KINGSLEY

» Old Vic, The Cut, SE1 8NB Waterloo, Until Apr 3. £10-£47


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