If you’re a fan of The Apprentice you’ll love this. If you hate The Apprentice, you’ll love this. Three jargon-peddling suit-types, straight from Alan Sugar central casting, within a faceless company where no-one seems to know what it does, makes or sells are given the task, sorry, ‘brief’ of maximising profits over the next year. In a matter of hours. In a typically febrile atmosphere recognizable to anyone who’s ever worked for a large corporation, the threat of job losses and cost-cutting hovers. We’ve a statuesque terribly well-spoken HR officer, a diligent, meticulous worker from the Research department and an earthy, frequently insensitive Accounts personality direct from the locker room, trying to mansplain his way through their dilemma. They all talk a lot. They all talk even more than that but fail to get anywhere near addressing their problem.
Straight away, the script is brilliant; from initially despising the three characters our feelings mutate into sympathy. And that’s before we begin to learn about their personal and domestic struggles. Second, a good script doesn’t work without some excellent acting and, clearly, some long hours of rehearsals, refinements and just plain elbow grease. The silences, pauses, and interruptions are perfectly timed as the tide of panic rises within the stuffy room where they’ve not even been supplied with chairs. Though there are beanbags, of course.
There’s also humour, despair, panic and awkwardness as time starts to run out and the energy drinks are reached for in an attempt to resolve their ridiculous conundrum. It’s crucial to mention the writer George Manson and actors Olivia Moon, Anna Van Miert and Joel David of Junk Theatre; they should all have bright bumbling careers ahead of them, go and catch this show this August so you can say you were there. Also, remember you get More Dog For Your Dollar if you Squeeze The Sponge.
At The Space (2) On The Mile until August 12th, https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/ants
Reviewer: Roger Jacobs
Reviewed: 5th August 2023
North West End UK Rating: