Debt collecting agencies and, more especially, overseas call centres are the bane of modern life. But for once they provide excellent entertainment in Anupama Chandrasekhar’s fast and very funny new play set in India but with pretensions of being US based.
With their carefully cultivated tones, the smart twentysomethings manning the night shift are a different breed from their new supervisor, long serving Avinash (Paul Bhattacharjee) whose Indian accent and poor results have seen him “relocated” from New York to fourth floor Illinois.
He’s a dinosaur in a target-orientated company which feeds off the financial predicament of Americans whose aspirations have resulted in a maxed out credit card and a debt they can’t repay.
There’s a slight story of misguided infatuation – like his colleagues, top performer Ross has his own American Dream, falling for a debt laden librarian in Buffalo and breaking even more rules than usual to help her out.
But most of the pleasure of Indhu Rubasingham’s swift production comes from the often overlapping interaction of the operatives (newcomer Giri/Gary, Ayesha Dharker’s kind Vidya/Vicki, and, making a memorable professional debut, Nikesh Patel as Roshan/Ross) as they cajole and coerce the “marks” on the other end of the line, using their all-American aliases to convince them that they’re just a few miles away rather than stuck in a windowless Chennai office.
Royal Court Theatre Upstairs, Sloane Square, SW1W 8AS (020 7565 5000) to 20th March (£10 – £15)