Previewed 27 May 2016, Opened 2 June 2016, Closed 13 August 2016 at the Trafalgar Studios (now Trafalgar Theatre)
The European premiere of Jesse Eisenberg's new comedy The Spoils in London starring starring Jesse Eisenberg and Kunal Nayyar for a strictly limited season.
The cast features Jesse Eisenberg as 'Ben', Kunal Nayyar as 'Kalyan', Alfie Allen as 'Ted', Katie Brayben as 'Sarah' and Annapurna Sriram as 'Reshma'. Directed by Scott Elliott with set designs by Derek McLane, costume designs by Susan Hilferty, lighting by Peter Kaczorowski and sound by Rob Milburn and Michael Bodeen.
Jesse Eisenberg is best known for playing the central role of Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg in the 2010 film The Social Network and the role of 'Columbus' in the 2009 horror-comedy film Zombieland; Kunal Nayyar is best knowm for his role as astrophysicist 'Rajesh Koothrappali' in the long-running CBS television sitcom The Big Bang Theory; Alfie Allen plays the role of 'Theon Greyjoy' in the HBO television series Game of Thrones; Katie Brayben's West End stage credits include the central role of 'Carole King' in the original London cast of the musical Beautiful at the Aldwych Theatre in 2015; and Annapurna Sriram plays the role of 'Tara Mohr' in the Showtime television series Billions.
When this production opened here at the Trafalgar Studios in June 2016, Michael Billington in The Guardian explained that he "found something grating about a play that begs our sympathy for a hero who is, by any objective standards, a self-absorbed dickhead... But, for all my reservations about the play’s tone, Jesse Eisenberg is compelling to watch." Henry Hitchings in The London Evening Standard said that "Jesse Eisenberg’s performance is riveting... Still, there aren’t enough juicy laughs or dramatic highs. This is essentially a character sketch. And while Eisenberg makes Ben intriguing, it’s a risk to focus for over two and a half hours on someone who, despite moments of vulnerability, is so resolutely loathsome." Ian Shuttleworth in The Financial Times thought that Jesse Eisenberg "has a keen ear for character dialogue, but a woolly imagination for actual character or plot. All that happens here is that folk get together, talk and irk each other." Dominic Cavendish in The Daily Telegraph wrote that it was "the most compulsive slice of American neurotica I've seen in a long while... as light as paper but with satisfyingly sharp edges, a hoot and, I expect, a summer hit." Ann Treneman in The Times said that "this is the UK premier of Jesse Eisenberg's play and it will be a hit. The theme is friendship, the cast starry and it is laugh-out-loud funny... The play is not slick and it has a heart." Patrick Marmion in The Daily Mail highlighted that "Jesse Eisenberg has created a sometimes brilliant star turn for himself, with the four other actors on the receiving end of his licence to offend. Freighted with strong expletives and lavatorial imagery, his performance walks the line of political correctness... You can’t take your eyes off him; he speaks as if every line is just occurring to him." Neil Norman in The Daily Express described how "director Scott Elliott manages to control the proceedings... turning it from an accelerated comedy to outright farce. Painfully funny, it makes The Odd Couple look like The Waltons." Paul Taylor in The I Newspaper admitted that, "while not perfect, it's a genuinely funny and intelligent study of the corrosive penalties of American privilege and sense of entitlement... Recommended."
"In his third play, Jesse Eisenberg the playwright has exercised his prerogative to write Jesse Eisenberg the actor a corker of a part. He plays Ben, a spoilt, sneering New Yorker, sharing the apartment bought for him by his father with his saintly Nepalese flatmate, Kalyan, who is struggling to get a toehold in the banking world Ben can afford to despise... The play circles the themes of friendship and honesty, but with a notable lack of purpose. The dialogue is smart, the cast is strong and Eisenberg is riveting to watch, prowling the stage with a restless nervous energy and a sardonic delivery. It's all quite entertaining, but, though more foul-mouthed and longer, it's not as perceptive as your average episode of Friends." The Sunday Times
"Ben – played by the multi-talented American Jesse Eisenberg, who also wrote this outrageously funny star vehicle – is an obnoxious, self-obsessed, inward-looking rich kid... He’s a spoilt brat who has had everything on a plate... The action – what little there is – is triggered by Ben running into to old schoolmate Ted, who is about to marry Sarah, Ben’s childhood crush. He can’t imagine why Sarah could think goofy Ted is a better bet, so he tries to win Sarah back. The play is too long and spoilt by the sentimental switch at the end, but the wit and originality of the writing – and the detailed performances from all, specially Eisenberg – are exhilarating." The Mail on Sunday
The Spoils in London at the Trafalagr Studios previewed from 27 May 2016, opened on 2 June 2016 and closes on 13 August 2016.