Secs, lies & Hazard tape

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 16 Aug '07 9.03pm
Edinburgh Festival review
Rating (out of 5)
Show info
Girl Friday Productions
Michael McLean (Director); Roslyn Ure and Emma Jane Sweeney (Written/devised); Laura Gillions (Songs)
Roslyn Ure, Emma Jane Sweeney & Lionel Bishop

Secs, lies & Hazard tape is a witty, entertaining and highly original musical based around office politics and the joy of work in the 21st century.

The show was written by Roslyn Ure and Emma Jane Sweeney in collaboration with Laura Gillions, who wrote the songs. Roslyn and Emma formed Girl Friday Productions in 2006 so that they could create original work. The standard of writing and performance is uniformly high throughout the show.

Roslyn Ure &
Emma Jane Sweeney

There is a very contemporary feel to the story. Anyone working for a large organisation is likely to recognise the total disrespect for staff, inane management speak, middle/senior mis-management, irritating colleagues and IT insanity which is so much a part of working life in 2007. It's just as well that the show is so funny as it is quite depressing to realise how accurate the portrayal of the "Totally Rubbish" company is to the modern work culture!

Dialogue is bang up to date with references to Paris Hilton and the Beckhams and lots of side swipes at glossy celebrity magazines.

The show is liberally sprinkled with witty one-liners. At interview a candidate who dares to try to be individual is asked pointedly "Do you have more opinions of your own?" In a later interview she proposes to improve time management by "decimating some work to colleagues". Quite!

Roslyn and Emma Jane give excellent performances playing two characters each. It is a credit to their acting skills that they create four very believable characters, involving constant changes of costume and appearance. Michael McLean plays the charming but shallow office hunk to perfection, including a wonderful spoof on the "Diet Coke" ads. I was impressed by the technique of integrating live action with short video clips of activities in other rooms. This allows them to maintain the story lines for all five characters within the one hour show.

Sound and lighting effects are well managed and everything is brought together to maximise involvement with the audience.

Emma Jane & Roslyn

The songs are catchy and amusing. Highlights for me: Roslyn as the office bitch on her favourite topic - "Me" and in her other role as Tina finally finding out that "I'm Good at Something!" Probably the strongest song is "Something Else", sung by both girls, which highlights the main message of the musical:- the modern working environment can be hell, so you'll need that sense of humour! It poses an important question of our times. Why is it that as more organisations gain official recognition as "Investors in People", they invest as little as possible in the people who keep the organisation running and treat them badly? In the words of the song "there must be something else" we could all do to make that better.

I heartily recommend this musical to cheer you up at the end of a long working day. Perhaps it could be used as a team-building exercise with some colleagues from your very own "Totally Rubbish" company (in your own time of course….after you've finished a few more hours unpaid overtime….and remembering that breakfast meeting tomorrow at 7.00am….)

© Mairi Anderson. 9 August 2007. First published on Girl Friday Productions

Run Continues August 9-19: 18.00 (1hr) £7.50 (£6.50) £13)