The Man – TNT theatre review

Completing a tax return is never fun as anyone who’s had to submit a
self-assessment form to Her Majesty’s Customs & Excise will know only too

And if you’re as insecure and indecisive as 20-something Northerner
Ben, all those little boxes to fill out are an overwhelming nightmare. But
in James Graham’s clever and touching new play, the story behind those
unsorted receipts turns this 75 minute near-monologue into an unexpected
delight – not least because of a perfect fit between performer Samuel
Barnett and a role that could have been written for him.

In fact, though, it was first taken by the playwright himself and, on
different nights in this current season (the centrepiece of the Finborough’s
month long anniversary celebration) is played by one of a pool of four

Similarly, the voice of the Inland Revenue (perky Lisa from Wrexham
on the other end of the telephone line) is also provided, live, by one of an
unseen trio of actresses.

As you enter, receipts are randomly distributed among the audience. Ben
(now based in London and setting up his own on-line business) has got as far
as organising two empty cardboard boxes – one for items he can legitimately
claim, the other for the rest of his life.

Prompted by the slips of paper
which he collects, one by one and in no set order, he recalls the events
surrounding them before depositing them in the appropriate container.

It’s been a year of highs and lows, of relationships ended and begun, of
illness and bereavement and of those little moments which could so easily be
forgotten but are brought poignantly to life in this highly recommended and
unpretentious little gem.


Finborough, Finborough Road, SW10 9ED
Tube: Earl’s Court
0844 847 1652
Until 19th June
£11 – £15

Review: Louise Kingsley