Earl & Grace Productions’ The Corporate Knobs is a short comedy variety show exposing the truth about life in corporate America and how the pandemic has changed corporate work lives for better and worse.
Performed by Lori Hamilton, the show opens with a short film showing the shady history of company, Landalor Industries as it grew from a small family business to the government’s main irresponsible disposer of nuclear waste.
Diane Prenderghast (Lori Hamilton) is the exhausted and HR Director who leads us through our journey with the company. COVID, she tells us, has made many of us realise that we hate our jobs, but no one wants to quit when they can get a severance package, so she runs a short course in how to be a bad manager so that you can get fired and paid off. Or, if you don’t mind your job but hate your boss, you can learn how to be a first rate employee instead, showing your manager up and taking their place once everyone sees how rubbish they really are and they’re shown the door.
There are some very funny moments in this piece, but it tries to cover a lot of material in less than half an hour, consequently never really fully making a point. Skimming over how bad corporate life is in every way, the show would be stronger if it focussed on one or two elements of negativity and fully exposed them for what they actually were rather than trying to do everything in so little time.
Hamilton’s performance as Prenderghast is excellent and her characterisation of other roles is very funny. There are some characters within the piece which may be worthy of further development and exploration in a longer piece.
The Corporate Knobs is a funny show about power and greed in a world which has been radically changed by the sudden need for people to work from home all of the time. The arm’s length nature of HR advice and reinterpretation of corporate history are unmasked and reconsidered as they are forced, often kicking and screaming, to adapt to the new environment of life in pandemic.
The Corporate Knobs is being streamed on Online @theSpaceUK until 31st January 2021 https://online.thespaceuk.com/show/the-corporate-knobs
Reviewer: Donna M Day
Reviewed: 13th January 2021
North West End UK Rating: ★★★