Office Party (3 stars)

This article is from 2008.

Office Party

Tasteless delights

Seldom were ham and cheese so well combined in a sandwich as in Cal McCrystal’s interactive version of that familiar titular institution, the office party. The show may be disrupted here and there by its structure, but this seems to do nothing to dampen the spirits of its revelling guests.

What this piece amounts to is a series of variety turns linked by the conceit of a cringey event of the kind we’ve all attended at some time or other. In Edinburgh University’s Appleton Tower – a cavernous multi-storey monument to architectural errors of the 70s – the perfect venue has been found for the show. Festooned with red balloons and draperies, it feels every tacky inch the part.

The series of turns has a flavour of the burlesque, from the comic CEO (a strong Glenn Wool), who apes the rapacious, over-privileged boss, to an all-singing, all-stripping version of Chris de Burgh’s ‘Lady in Red’. Topped off with a pole dancing routine and a trapeze act (from the splendidly agile Abbi Collins), there’s some entertaining work on show for the average, mildly boozed-up audience.

On the night I dropped in, the punters showed willing to participate in various games involving disrobing, eating and pub quizzing. There were high spirits all round from an audience divided up in teams from the fictional firm, from executives, to accounts and on through the ranks to the cleaners. On the night, though, there was a vague sense of milling about in this great hall that broke up the entertainment, with various pauses to buy drinks from the bar interrupting the flow. All the same, when the acts came, they were pretty strong, with some nice crowd pleasing from the likes of Ursula Martinez, who led the crowd in a bawdy bit of Hispanic sing-along in a particular highlight. I suspect that with a little tightening up, this will be a good, boozy night out.

Udderbelly’s Pasture, 0844 545 8252, until 25 Aug, 8pm, £12–£18 (£10).

Office Party

  • 3 stars

Director Cal McCrystal invites to you to express your most deeply repressed office party inhibitions. Set in a converted Appleton Tower, the audience mingle freely with the improvisational comics as the events unfold. Just don't get stuck with Alan from accounts. 'Part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe'

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