Sunday, February 21, 2010

"Company Policy" - February 2010

I'm a big fan of writer D C Jacksons work. "The Wall" & "The Ducky" are brilliantly funny, yet touching pieces of theatre; and "Out on the Wing" is one of the best comedies I've seen at Oran Mor. But I'm afraid "Company Policy" was utter drivel.

Set in the unisex toilets of Jiffy Co., we follow office workers Dex Sexington and Randy Burley as they compete for the affections of new girl Sally Mallow. But amusingly (???) Randy has contrived to make Sally believe he is all round good guy Dex and Dex is notorious office sleaze Randy. What follows is 45 minutes of unfunny dialogue frequently repeated in a prime example of the law of diminishing returns. The cast battle bravely, and there is some nicely executed physical comedy, but there's little can be done to salvage a script that provided me with one solitary chortle (which was the "Randrew" gag for the record).

And despite the play's setting and title, neither has a particularly significant role - the toilet setting could equally have been a store room, and the only company policy of importance is the one that decrees there should be unisex toilets. I did think at one point Jackson was about to pull the rug from under the audience by taking a sudden dark and serious turn with references to sexual harassment, but this was short lived. And I found it uncomfortably underplayed considering that what we see occur on stage is more sexual assault than harassment - if not bordering on attempted rape.

In the interest of fairness I should point out that much of the audience seemed to enjoy it and Joyce McMillan gave it a rave review in the Scotsman - but it does seem to have divided opinions in the audience comments on the A Play, A Pie & A Pint website. For me it was a horribly unfunny and pointless play that I'm going to do my best to erase from my memory.

Company Policy has now completed it's run at Oran Mor.
Image by Leslie Black Photography used with permission