Aug 22 2017 | By More

★★★★☆   Entertaining

Assembly Hall (Venue 35): Thurs 3 – Mon 28 Aug 2017
Review by Hugh Simpson

Enterprise, Americana Absurdum Productions’ inventive comedy at Assembly George Square, is an original and funny experience.

Brian Parks’s depiction of a Manhattan corporation going down the tubes has a comically absurd feel, with four male employees devising a way to save the company and become heroes. The fact that they cannot even work together without falling out, or face the company chair without wetting themselves, will not stop them devising their stratagems. That’s stratagems, not strategies, because ‘these are gems of strategies’ and go all the way up to spying and animal sacrifice.

Christopher Carley, Matthew Boston, Brian Dykstra and Jonathan Fishman

While the script is full of humour and interest, it is certainly not foolproof. The constant parade of short scenes is not ideal, with the whole thing taking some time to cohere; at first it is more like a series of hit-and-miss sketches than a play.

Eventually, it does become clear that there is a storyline. However, the absurdist nature of events comes at the expense of character development to an extent. It is to the credit of the cast – Matthew Boston, Christopher Carley, Brian Dykstra and Jonathan Fishman – that they come across as more than suited drones. All four impress with their energy and comic precision, but Boston and Dykstra in particular have moments of inspired strangeness.

David Calvitto’s direction is ideal for the piece, with the constant breaks in the narrative handled deftly, and without disrupting the headlong momentum that is soon built up.

There is a skewed but definite logic to proceedings. Much of the humour comes from taking situations or language and following them to their illogical conclusion.

This is entirely fitting for the depiction of a world in which the business of business is business, that seems to have no aim but juggling figures in order to create more figures, and itself creates nothing but self-justifying men in suits. A real world that the crazy atmosphere of Parks’s accomplished satire can never truly rival for strangeness.

Running time 55 minutes (no interval)
Assembly George Square Studios, George Square, EH8 9LH (Venue 17)
Thursday 3 – Monday 28 August 2017
Daily (not Mon 14 or Tues 22) at 1.35 pm
Book tickets on the Fringe website: https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/enterprise
Production website: http://enterprisetheplay.com/


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