To the sound of meandering jazz, Dan, the hero of our tale, enters his office building. Walking up the stairs and grabbing a coffee he is ready to start his Monday off in a positive mood. Today Dan has a presentation to finish. It will be easy to complete, as long as the phone doesn’t ring, his meeting is not brought forward to an earlier time and he doesn’t spill coffee all over himself. For those on the outside watching get the feeling that today isn’t going to be Dan’s day.
Spillage, written and performed by Stewart Taylor and directed by Anna Carr, is one man’s journey to try and keep it together in the face of increasing stress and demands from colleagues, within the monotony of an everyday, ordinary, workplace environment.
Set up with simple staging, a desk, chair, briefcase and whiteboard, Taylor explores the frustration his character is experiencing through, poetry, physical theatre and with a side order of puppetry.
Highly inventive and engaging throughout, we see Dan go through several levels of angst until a psychological break becomes inevitable as the pressure builds. It is at the approach of the apex of worry when Dan begins to rely on an inanimate Action Man doll, he calls Anagram Man, to help him out. This leads to several hilarious interactions with the doll and the crowd as the character drop down a rabbit hole of confusion and mayhem.
Taylor is a fabulous physical performer and presents pinpoint control of his body to extract laughter from his appreciative audience. The changes of pace within the piece, from the frenetic to exhaustion and then to exaltation, are wonderful to watch. The sequences of the telephone interrupting his coffee drinking, and frantic typing at his desk are classic clowning and the forays into the surreal, as our protagonist attempts to grasp at subjects for his presentation, are as fun as any Harry Hill sketch.
The visual landscapes brought to mind through clever wordplay and idiosyncratic movement give rise to giddy giggles; imagine a one-man Mighty Boosh crossed with a live-action Dilbert cartoon.
Time flies as the room enjoys all manner of mischief on stage as we trek into the mind of the exasperated and under-appreciated office drone.
A whole hour of thought-provoking and funny physical theatre that is also refreshingly silly too; thoroughly and highly recommended. Go and see it now!
Reviewed on 15th October. Runs to 18th.