On Hold

The world of PR is one ripe for comedy gold, Izzy Tennyson’s new play has taken this, using it not only for its humour but also to paint a dark portrait of the professional world and the pitfalls of collaborative work. This new play is a sterling piece of writing which sees the lives of a group of employees unfold before us as their office life becomes more imprisoning and manic.

From the outset, the office manager Maggie (played by Kath Darke) hits the perfect tone of banter-seeking manager trying to be friends with her employees. Darke’s energetic entrance and hilarious opening monologue immediately set the tone for the production. As the play continues, we see Maggie trying to retain control of the office and, having very different relationships with each of her employees, this poses a challenge. Witnessing this play out in hilariously painful episodes of comedy makes Maggie’s character absolutely riveting to watch.

Josie, the office receptionist, brings a beautiful naivety to the piece with her follow-the-crowd attitude and brilliant comic timing. Played by Claudia Campbell, this wonderful portrayal of a misled office junior really shines; as the play takes a darker turn, Campbell delivers a subtly emotional monologue which caught me off guard, this huge emotional impact making a standout impression. Performed with an understated intensity, this moment proved a highlight of the performance.

The rest of the office provide hilarious comedy with their superb timing, undercutting each other’s words with sharp remarks. Dennis, the class clown who takes all the jokes far too far, is a fantastic trigger for the other character’s outbursts, with Felicity Cant’s unhinged character Katie firing off in all directions.

The brutal comedy of the piece turns much darker as the characters’ true demons come into play, which provides for a whole other dimension to the characters and their relationships. Fantastically acted and incredibly written, this is one theatre company that has real, unbridled talent.

Reviews by Andy Smith

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Performances

The Blurb

Cutting-edge dark comedy set in a PR firm. A forensically funny exposé of the ridiculous, these grasping characters in a mundane office painfully attempt to distract themselves from the fact that their lives are simply, on hold.

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