Edinburgh Fringe: Office Politics

In a bid to conceal my social embarrassment at attending the Office Party alone, I tried to do one of those minute-by-minute, as it happens blogs from my mobile.  Unfortunately I couldn’t work it out – started one and then it all went wobbly, so I tried to enjoy myself instead.

Had it worked, the blog would have gone something like this…

20:03 Enter the big room where the party is happening.  Try to work out what’s going on.  People are getting name badges.  Head straight for the bar.  It’s quickly dawning on me that this could be a great opportunity for me to chat awkwardly to strangers or stand in a corner swearing to myself.  I’ve only got a tenner on me.  Hope that will see me through.

20:07 Wander towards the table with the name badges and spot Cathy from Domestic Services (actress Janice Connolly, who is fabulous and absolutely meant for this type of show).  She sorts my badge out and introduces me to two people.  We exchange brief niceties.  They wander off.  I find a seat and try to blog.  Fail.

20:13 It all starts to kick off.  We are divided into groups – the different divisions of the company – Executives (boo), Creatives (tossers), Marketing (?), Accounts (avoid), Domestic Services (the lifeblood of this bleeding company!).  There’s one other I’ve forgotten. We, the cleaners, are taken into the Gents where Cathy gees us up and gets everyone singing with one voice over a glass of sherry.  One woman throws her sherry in the urinal.  I give her a disapproving look – this is the office party, take any free booze you can get, madam. 

And so it goes on.  Actors lead each group and stand-up Glen Wool is fantastic as the arrogant Chief Exec.  There’s guilty pleasure dancing, entertainment, games and stunts, which are generally good fun, though the attempt to recreate a real office party descends into some kind of horrific Swindon/Ibiza hybrid when we’re asked for a member of each group to strip off.  Not my kind of thing.

This show should come with a warning.  It’s not a brilliantly crafted interactive theatre show.  It’s the kind of thing that English people attend to loosen their ties after a few drinks and embarrass themselves.  If that’s what you fancy then go, you will enjoy it, if not don’t.  It is an office party.  I didn’t spot a photocopier, though – I think they missed a trick.


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