Might 17, 2023 · 9:04 am
BACK TO THE OFFICE, EVERYONE!
There’s, by probability a little bit of a Factor occurring in theatre proper now: ladies enjoying a very alpha kind of males, with glee and an unnerving soprano or contralto means instantly to sink to a near-baritone growl. It’s there in Operation Mincemeat’s MI5 officers, and right here in Georgie Rankcom’s playful manufacturing of Loesser’s musical tackle a Fifties company world. So we now have not solely a sparky Gabrielle Friedman from Seattle because the artfully bold J.Pierrepont Finch however the peerless Tracie Bennett – so memorable as a declining Judy Garland ten years again – bringing all her panache and chic dealing with of basic lyrics to the position of J.B. Biggley the President of Worldwide Wickets . She is certainly a deal with, her swagger carrying this light-weight, too-silly-for-sincerity leisure.
It was a jokey e-book by Shepherd Mead in 1952, then a movie and eventually this present, with Abe Burrows, Jack Weinstock and Willie Gilbert ’s e-book and – most significantly – songs by the good Frank Loesser of Guys and Dolls (simply up the street on the Bridge, go!) . It’s dated however has loads of recognizably sharp jokes about nepotism, insincerity and – after a company catastrophe – the refrain of shoddily self-made males singing how “being mediocre will not be a mortal sin”. Ouch.
The lyrics are splendid, not least the primary huge quantity by Allie DAniel’s Rosemary the secretary about her ‘50s surrendered-wife dream of marrying an government, protecting his dinner heat of a night and “basking within the glow of his completely comprehensible neglect”. Likewise the assorted office-life ensembles : possibly we’re nostalgic – I sneakily conned the matinee viewers for all these infamous mid-life WFH addicts . For example “if I dont take my espresso break, one thing inside me dies” ,Mead’s mantra that it’s best to at all times select g an organization so huge that no one actually is aware of what everybody else is doing. It will get the manipulation, passive aggressive bitchery and must woo the massive man’s gatekeeping secretary. Friedman bonding blokily with Bennett over school reminiscences in Grand previous Ivy may be very Bullingdon, and all of the studio- dimension choreographed ensembles are enjoyable to be near.
My solely actual cavil concerning the manufacturing’s tone is that it’s half dated and half modern, in largely fairly informal costumes (although Tracie Bennett s brown go well with does a minimum of match fantastically) and thus it’s not totally positive the place to take a seat. A number of weeks in the past this enterprising little theatre supplied, within the smaller area, Joseph Charlton’s mischievous tech- bro piece Good Jerks, which was 100% about now and due to this fact drew you sharply in with out apology – simply as Guys and Dolls does by being unashamedly Nineteen Twenties. This era piece – a bit overlong at practically two and three quarter hours – has a bit extra bother. However the songs are nice, and so is Bennett. Enjoyable.
southwarkplayhouse.co.uk to 17 June