When I think of office parties, I think polite laughter, finger food and standing around tinsel-decorated tables hoping someone will be bold enough to suggest another round of drinks. My initial impressions aren’t too far off from what Commerce Revue showcases this year – though, I never thought I’d ever want to attend a party like this one. Welcome to Boardroom Blitz.
Plastered with motivational pamphlets and a ‘Merry Christmas’ banner, the set displays a deteriorating office party, complete with that one employee who is characterised by their attachment to the swivel chair. The show starts with an elaborate musical number and introduces the audience to the boardroom blitz to-be. We are all given the chance to familiarise ourselves with the distinct talents and characters who are mounting the stage to share with us the joy and regret that follows workplace Christmas parties.
The show ties together a number of tightly performed skits through the central theme of relationships. We see families, lovers, friends. One sketch that seems to encompass this notion extremely well features a mother who receives unfortunate news over the phone whilst her son asks her to watch him whip (and nae nae), later embracing him in a loving hug. This idea characterises most of the revue, yielding ooohs and ahhhs from the audience as they empathise with the wholesome interactions and relationships between characters. The humour of the skits is elevated by the successful delivery of lines and interjections which maintain the perfect balance between tension and comedic timing.
A clear highlight of the show is James Mukheibir’s salacious skit outlining a forbidden romance between the Grinch and a resident of Whoville. It demonstrates an outstanding ability for poetic storytelling that relies on nothing more than performance and skilful rhyme. The revue also features recurring skits that explore the budding romance between the characters played by Sophia Morrison and Declan Coyle, a plotline that showcase sharp and distinctive one-liners that consistently slice through wholesome moments, redefining the extent of what we’d do for love.
There are only a few missteps and drawbacks within the revue, mostly due to a lack of depth in some of the skits. In some cases, skits rely heavily on humour instigated by the use of ‘expired’ music, which feels like an option resorted to rather than thoughtfully chosen. The length and performance of certain skits also varies slightly in quality, with some being far too long for their punchlines to seem relevant and others being over before the humour sets in. This is particularly the case in the slightly more political skits that lack the zest to say something, but rather was clouded by obscure dialogue that lacked direction.
Cast members barely falter in their performances, and consistently step up their improvisation. Campbell Taylor and Harry Licence deserve a special mention here for making the audience cackle at the ordinary sight of a MacBook log-on screen — though of course, not an ordinary sight for the cavemen they embody. Although the opening night is dotted with technical issues that cannot be helped, the cast does a fantastic job of using these moments to facilitate a comedic atmosphere that wouldn’t be achieved without a good sense of self and audience awareness, even having viewers sing along when the speaker fails.
The closing musical and dance performance does a sensational job of allowing audiences to hone in and have a laugh at specific characters through the lyrics of their solos. The amazing spirit of the cast is shared with audience members throughout both the first and second half of the revue, and every sketch provides fresh and biting performances. Boardroom Blitz shares with us the nuances of characters and relationships, undoubtedly giving us much incentive to watch it and laugh again.