Review: How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying

Leaving the office to see a show about an office, at first I was a little hesitant. However, I was both surprised and thrilled at how much I enjoyed it.

Presented at the Bridewell Theatre, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying is a delightful romp through the 1960s era – like a musical Mad Men, with similarly attractive secretaries and businessmen. Not only was I extremely jealous of all of the ladies’ costumes, I was completely taken in by the show’s aesthetic. Director Dominic O’Hanlon and set designer Sam Partridge have worked together to create a stylised snapshot of office life, with hanging ceiling tiles, window blinds, vintage telephones and large panels that were cleverly manipulated by the cast to provide set changes throughout the show.

The standout moments of the show were the songs involving the entire cast, a particular favourite of mine being ‘Coffee Break’. In this whimsical and hilarious number, which will resonate with anyone who depends on coffee in the workplace, the cast reveal the grotesque inner monsters that surface when coffee is denied them. The show’s choreography (by Nichola Welch) was excellent, but this number was particularly lively and well-delivered. I just managed to restrain myself from joining in, but next time there is a coffee shortage in my workplace, I will definitely be performing this number to my boss.

The double casting of Kevin Sherwin was perfect. He portrayed the contrasting roles with great zeal, and was utterly believable as both a lowly mail sorter and a powerful corporate suit with a soul. Hats off to his characterisation. All of the lead characters were well cast, and Olivia Hood’s Hedy La Rou added a delightful glamour and cheekiness to the show.

All in all, I can’t fault the production, or think of a better show to help cure the winter blues. Bright, bold and brilliant, I just wish my own office was more like it!

How to Succeed In Business Without Really is running at the Bridewell Theatre until 10 November. For more information and tickets, see the Bridewell Theatre website