Writer: David J Collyer
Director: David J Collyer
Reviewer: Deborah Klayman
Written and directed by ex-music journalist David J Collyer, Human: Resources is a play about four characters whose love lives are intertwined after their paths cross at the HR department of an energy company.
Emily White (Genna Foden) is dissatisfied with life, and – seemingly for want of anything else to do – ends up in a relationship with her boss and former sexual harasser Joel Harper-Wells (Irwin Sparkes). Joel is pompous, arrogant and somewhat of a bigot, and Emily soon begins comparing him with her first love: the gentle but self-involved writer Alec Elliott (Daniel Curshen). Unbeknownst to Emily, Alec’s life has not really moved on, and although he is dating fellow restaurant employee Tally Castle (Bernice Pike), he also begins thinking of their time together. When Tally insists Alec look for another job his CV ends up on Emily’s desk, and she has a decision to make: make do with what she has, or try to rediscover who she is?
The issues in this play are not even vaguely new, which along with a multitude of clunky gags and anachronous references serves to make the piece seem very dated. Mentions of OJ Simpson and Jamie Bulger are tired and distasteful respectively, and there was an excruciating speech from Joel about appropriate words when discussing race that had an over-zealous audience member joining in with an offensive heckle. The writing is trite, predictable and largely unfunny, and no real care has been given to directing it other than for the cast to deliver the majority out to the audience, though seemingly with no idea of who they are talking to.
The scenes where the characters interact are marginally better, managing to raise a few laughs and a modicum of dramatic tension which was otherwise lacking throughout. Curshen’s Alec was enjoyable at times, and he seemed committed to the character but shackled by the given text. The rest of the cast did produce fleeting moments of sincerity at various points, but ultimately the play just lacked the wit and pace it needed to engage an audience with this very run of the mill premise.