Skip to main content

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


Popular posts from this blog

Review of Disney's High School Musical by NMTC Youth Society at the Cripps Hall Theatre, Northampton

As a regular theatre-goer, and indeed reviewer, I have learnt over the years that not all theatre is really for everybody. It's pretty obvious a statement really, but with reviewers, unlike regular theatregoers, you end up by default attending shows you might not dream of going to see as a normal customer. Maybe High School Musical is one pretty close to the top of the list I would only see on "official reviewing duty", as it's not really for a 40-year odd person. However, beyond that, the Northampton Musical Theatre Company Youth Society has come up with a really pretty impressive production of Disney's classic teen musical.

This is a very dramatic departure from the inaugural production of the Youth Theatre in 2018, Les Misérables (much more my thing), however, perhaps unsurprisingly it is better suited to the performers here. Their enthusiasm is even more evident to that previous production. Here, unlike the horrors of revolution-torn France, they can have fu…

Review of The Full Monty at Royal & Derngate (Derngate), Northampton

The 1997 film The Full Monty is one of the best regarded of relatively recent British films, due to it being both a warm and emotionally strong tale, solid comedy and a wealth of acting talent, and it's no surprise that its very theme has spawned an immensely successful touring stage version. It literally overflows with the opportunity to be performed in front of a, probably mostly female, audience, well, the final scene does, in any case. However, what of the rest, and how about for a male audience member? So to speak. Well, it was time to find out.

The first thing that is apparent from The Full Monty stage show, is how faithful this is to the film. Much of the show is what you have seen if you have seen the film, but translated cleverly to the stage, it feels just that little more real and gritty as well. It opens with a nicely staged scene of darkness and flashes of a torch as Gaz (Gary Lucy), his son Nathan (Fraser Kelly) and Dave (Kai Owen) break into their former factory wo…

Review of The Bodyguard at Milton Keynes Theatre, Milton Keynes

The 1992 film The Bodyguard starring Kevin Costner and the acting debut for singing megastar Whitney Houston, was a slightly average romantic thriller, which is really mostly remembered for its musical turns from Houston, so, it is perhaps surprising that it took a whole twenty years to make it's transition to the stage as a musical version. Premiering in London in December 2012, ten months after Houston's tragic death, the show has had great success around the world, and with this, it's second UK tour, has a recognisable face in the star role, of Alexandra Burke, former X-Factor winner (curiously not mentioned in her programme biog).
The Bodyguard follows the story of former Secret Service agent turned bodyguard Frank Farmer (Benoît Maréchal) who is hired to protect multi-award-winning music star Rachel Marron, following her receiving threats from a stalker.
It's clear from the bold opening performance that Alexandra Burke as Marron is not looking to imitate Houston in…