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Review of The Annual General Meeting of a Medium-Sized Firm of Accountants by The Arts Lab at The Playhouse Theatre, Northampton

You see strange things at the theatre.
You see weird things at the theatre.
You see peculiar things at the theatre.
Then you see The Annual General Meeting of a Medium-Sized Firm of Accountants by The Arts Lab and absolutely nothing has prepared you for this day.
The day that you leave to the interval, having watched Samuel Jones as accountant Seth Lopod sing about wanting more from life. Wanting to be an octopus, a gay octopus, who wants another octopus to ejaculate his ink on your face. While the audience joins in with the chorus.
Yep, it's clear that nothing could ever prepare you for that.

The Arts Lab are a relatively recently formed group within Northampton who generally throw ideas about and create what appear to be incredibly random pieces such as this. I remarked in a conversation at the interval that the show appeared to be like throwing ideas at the wall and seeing which ones bounced back. I later learned that this whole show had occured from a Twitter exchange of ideas between two of the eventual writers. If this show is anything to go by, it is a neat and successful trick, as most of the time it all worked rather well. There was without doubt some brilliant moments.

The octopus of course is one of them, however there were a few other showstoppers which included Lindsay Spence (as Tim Burr) and his spirited speech of his undying love for his desk, and the papers strewn upon (or more specifically the tree from whence they came). There was a brilliant exchange via email between Mac Intosh (Josh Spiller) and his love desire Holly Dais (Stephanie Humphris), which also used some good tech. I particularly liked the neat trick of pie chart to beach and cliff visual exchange, excellent. Sonny Drake also provided an excellent "short speech" as Nickbert The Apprentice.

Perhaps the big draw of the show though (people had traveled from as far a field as Huddersfield and Brighton for the show) was the involvement of the one and only Alan Moore. His background work as project manager was one thing, however his appearance in a pre-recorded scene in the second half as God without doubt got the audience buzzing more than they already were. The scene co-written by Moore with Megan Lucas and performed with Morgen Bailey (Leticia Tardy) was superb, and yes despite the brilliance of everyone else on the night, probably the best moment, despite none of it being live.

It is rare that I review the audience in a review (and usually it only happens in a negative way), but they were truly excellent during the show. Making the show work so much better with their responses, singing along on more than one occasion, and very respectful when the rare awkward moments occurred. I have rarely sat in an audience with was so alive, and more importantly perfect for the show taking place.

So, The Annual General Meeting of a Medium-Sized Firm of Accountants (which did not actually include the AGM) was bizarre but brilliant at times. Some material didn't work, but when it did, it was incredibly funny, although sometimes in the squirmy way. I suspect your granny wouldn't have liked it, but, yep, I did.

Performance reviewed: Friday 4th November, 2016 at the Playhouse Theatre, Northampton

The Annual General Meeting of a Medium-Sized Firm of Accountants was at the Playhouse Theatre, Northampton on 
Friday 4th November, 2016 only.

Details of the Arts Lab can be found on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/artslabnh and on Twitter @ArtsLabNH
For full details of the Playhouse Theatre visit their website at http://www.theplayhousetheatre.net/ and can be found on Twitter @PlayhouseNTH


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