It’s a good idea to splash out on this venue’s excellent meal deal for this one. While this blog doesn’t recommend food and drink, this play, from Jordi Galceran, is perfect after-dinner theatre. With some wine helping you to swallow the improbable antics that four candidates for a job are put through, and a digestif over shared stories afterwards, an evening should go well enough. If a little smugly.
It’s no surprise that the play has been a global success (since its Spanish premiere in 2003 there have been productions in 60 countries). The job interview is a nice enough universal scenario, even if are watching executives here. Does Galceran tap into truths about the modern work place? Inevitably, if exaggerated for comedy, but not profoundly. The production itself goes down smoothly, with efficient direction from BT NcNicholl and a suitably sleek office design from Tim Hatley. There is humour in the bizarre interview situation, the cruel and pointless challenges posed, and lots of surprising twists that are set up well.
The characters themselves are simply devices to play with. It’s a bit of a shock to see one transgendered character bullied, partly because even bigoted interviewees would surely be more guarded, but more because this leaves a nasty taste in what is predominantly easy fare. But Jonathan Cake does well as a ruthless salesman we can all enjoy hating, Greg McHugh and John Gordon Sinclair have a firm grasp of the comedy, and Laura Pitt-Pulford is her usual good value as the predictably-tough-but-still-more-sensitive-than-the-men Melanie. All the cast make it look easy – which it isn’t – and without these strong performances the show would stink. But, as things stand, this play is an entertaining, if forgettable, diversion.
Until 7 July 2018
Photo by Manuel Harlan