Thursday, 9 December 2010
Christmas Office Party
Tonight - I've been to the theatre to see Christmas Office Party by John Godber at the Hull Truck Theatre. It might be worth knowing a little of the history of the theatre, something of which Hull is very proud.
The Hull Truck Theatre was born back in 1971 when a man called Mike Bradwell set up his own theatre company because he couldn't find employment. He moved to Hull and their first play was in 1972. In 1983 they moved to their own theatre in Spring Street in Hull (opposite the mortuary - nice!) and John Godber joined as their artistic director.
Godber's written many good and well renown plays one of which I have seen tonight, Christmas Office Party. In 2009 they moved to their new premises in Ferensway in Hull - a lovely and intimate theatre auditorium with three sides of the stage surrounded by the audience.
Apart from some dizzy bitch walking in front of the stage (not actually on it, but she may have just as well been) to get out in clumpy shoes about 5 minutes before the end, this was a great fun play well received by a switched on and responsive audience.
I went with a number of colleagues for our social evening and this was the first time I'd seen a Godber play and the first time I've been to this lovely theatre, I was impressed on the whole. The art display of paintings in the foyer was not very good art and the atmosphere in the upper floor bar, one of my colleagues said, was like being on the London Underground waiting for a train. She was right. Other than that and the obscure location for the toilets, it was good.
The play, set in a Yorkshire city, "up north," as one character put it, had lots of fun, pathos, dramatic swings of mood and atmosphere and plenty of great characters. The set was good - the inside of a relatively modern office and lots of retro music from the 1990s which was enjoyable nostalgia.
There are no spoilers here, but this play is simply about an advertising company having a Christmas party at the premises after last year's Christmas bash at the pub ended with the police being called. This is a closer look at relationships and office politics, personal differences, professional disappointments and the need to win a £3 million pound contract for survival. All sounds complex? Not really, don't let the plot put you off, it's almost a sub plot. This is about people. Their desires, their private lives, their relationship with one another as workers and their personal home relationships all put into the mix, with both hilarious and sad consequences.
The characters are entirely believable and the office politics, (with their political correctness - or not - possibly more suited to the 1990s) soon gives way to the characters revealing a lot about themselves.
If you ever get chance to see this, please do so - it's fun and entertaining - albeit with a bit of bad language thrown in, but this is not gratuitous and is entirely in context.
I can't tell you who the actors were, I didn't buy a programme for a change, but they were all very good indeed.