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Theatre review: Office Party 
16th-Oct-2011 10:38 pm
tragicomedavatar
Office Party is the brainchild of Christopher Green and Ursula Martinez, the stripping magician from La Soiree. Martinez does give her Special Area an airing here as well, although at least she doesn't make a handkerchief appear out of it this time. Reviews seem to mention that the show's better the more you've drunk beforehand, so as a teetotaller I was a tad concerned. Starting at the convincingly meaninglessly-named "Product Solutions" offices, the audience are randomly assigned a department on arrival. (At least I hope it's random, otherwise they genuinely thought Richard and I looked like cleaners.) Each department gets briefed separately to make sure we know the fictional company's office politics and which other departments we should be hostile to, before going into the party itself, the Pleasance Theatre's main auditorium having been turned into a cheesy disco.

This is really quite an odd show, at times a bit too realistically like an awkward office party with people you wouldn't really want to socialise with. Green and Martinez pop up occasionally on the main stage as a variety of cabaret alter-egos, but there's also a lot of party games (so if you're wary of audience participation, beware, although a certain amount of fading into the background can be done) and in between music is played and the audience left to their own devices. Actors play the departmental heads and a few more are planted among the audience - a free-runner and an opera singer appear late on in the proceedings as the party starts to "go wrong." I could have done with a bit more of this to be honest, the office party that turns into an out-of-control immersive cabaret is a great idea that's not fully realised. Probably best experienced with a large group of friends and/or those aforementioned few drinks, this seems like ideal hen-night fare and would ironically be a good alternative to a real office party. For someone teetotal it's trickier to get into the swing of.

Office Party by Christopher Green and Ursula Martinez is booking until the 21st of January at the Pleasance, Islington.
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