Take It Interns

Wed 31st July – Mon 26th August 2013

reviews

Ashley Chhibber

at 02:09 on 6th Aug 2013

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This thoroughly modern and deeply cynical musical about trying to gain a foothold in the world of work is hilarious from start to finish, packed with the most fantastic songs, full of completely unexpected twists and bursting with wit. In short: great fun.

Even aside from the high-quality score, technical choices add much to this production. In particular, without revealing too much about the plot twists, the revelation that an apparently very pleasant character has a dark side is made all the more extravagantly theatrical when lit eerily from below. All of the writing and acting is strong. Yet, not unexpectedly for a musical, it is the songs which make this show stand out.

Eliot Salt’s singing voice has a wonderful rich depth, which complemented the other voices very well and fit perfectly with her character (Amber)’s particularly dark sense of humour and no-nonsense attitude. In point of fact, all the interns were very well cast. Unfortunately, there was less to distinguish the company employees. Daisy Jacobs, who played Fiona, initially had a few issues with volume, but these had been resolved by her solo. Although this was not a particularly engaging song in itself, Jacobs delivered it beautifully and with such depth of emotion that the audience were mesmerised into silence.

One of the strongest songs is ‘Men in the Workplace’, which pokes fun at conceptions of masculinity and success (especially amusing given one of the play’s final twists) and is accompanied by some wonderful can-can dancing by Joe O'Toole and Tom Manson (Hamilton and Jenkins respectively); unfortunately, the verse sung by Fiona and Alice (Phoebe Pimblott) was not of quite the same standard as the rest of the song. Another humorous highlight poking particular fun at the musical genre is ‘Guilty Pleasures’, Albert (Ed Richards)’s unconventional love song. Salt’s expressions of shock and outrage at being continually insulted ensure the piece achieves its full comic potential.

The comedy is certainly not limited to the songs. Certain lines were absolute killers; there are almost too many to choose from, but my personal favourite, addressed by Amber to the deeply Christian Amanda (L-J Keston), was, “Hold your hymen, it’s not the scriptures!” Even after the end of the performance, I was still laughing, and in that I am surely not alone.

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Shirley Halse

at 09:42 on 6th Aug 2013

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I spent my first summer vacation from university in blissful ignorance about anything to do with internships. This summer they are everywhere: in real life, on at the cinema, and now there’s a musical. Frankly, the whole idea of internships scares me (the word is a little too close to ‘internment’ as far as I’m concerned) but if doing corporate work experience was the same as watching this musical I’m sure I could be converted to the idea of free menial labour.

For starters the whole cast are clearly very, very talented. The singing is all spot on. The music and lyrics, from Harry Zundel, Ronan Shiels and Ollie Feather, are superb. The songs were a mix of intelligence and meaningful sentiments – refreshingly different from inane club anthems and repetitive popular musicals.

The characters are also fairly interesting offerings as well. Albert (Ed Richards) seems to be a stereotypical toff but admits in the show that he has fallen for ‘guilty pleasures’, aka Amber, despite avoiding the gaudy and knowing about high art. Amber (Eliot Salt) is a working class girl with a very limited patience for everyone else’s bullshit. Salt is fantastically funny and entirely convincing in this role. The other interns are Alice, who’s very uptight, Archie, a well-meaning ‘lad’, and, most malevolently, Amanda, a Christian. Amanda suggests that religion is “essentially a points system” so if you do a lot of good, you can do a little bad, in possibly my favourite song of the show.

They’re stuck doing regular intern type things like stapling and filing – Archie sings “I’m using about 3% of my head” – for a company that clearly doesn’t care about them. They are eventually given a project with a possible job prospect, and these disparate young people set to work (against each other).

In spite of all the tremendous talent of everyone involved in this show, as an arts student I couldn’t help leaving feeling quite depressed about future prospects. They ask (in song, of course) “what are we living for? What is a living for?” and then proceed to tear each other apart in pursuit of a job at a company that all the employees hate. Fiona, a secretary figure, sings about having no prospects at her job, Archie tells us we must “get used to service”. Another sings that she was always “told I’d do what I wanted when I grow old” but realistically it seems we’re doomed to be an average person in an average company and we’re going to be pleased about it.

In spite of this prophecy of unfulfilment the show is very, very funny and a joy to watch. Reassessing your life values can never be a bad result of a play, right?

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