Working for Crumbs – The Space, London

Reviewer: Sonny Waheed

Writer: Kate Danley

Director: Cecile Fray

Workplaces are odd spaces. They’re the place, arguably, where we spend the majority of our waking hours, and so become a heightened microcosm of our actual selves. In Working for Crumbs, that heightened sense of self is taken to epic proportions in this bonkers absurdist comedy.

Amy (Megan Thorne) and Grace (Molly Keogh) are departmental secretaries working for an egocentric, tyrannical boss, Helen (Eliza Williams). Their days are filled with an unhealthy blend of mundane work and abject terror from the unwanted interactions with their boss. They alleviate this with the usual gossiping, idle chit-chat and secretly eating biscuits leftover from meetings.

Amy and Grace are, at best, adequate in their jobs, but more likely to fall clearly in the incompetent section. So, in an unexpected twist, there’s a promotion available that only one of them can get. This puts their relationship on a more competitive edge and then, in another unexpected twist, their boss dies in her office.

At this point, Amy and Grace completely lose the plot and the absurdity in this comedy starts to make its moves to overdrive. Rather than doing the sensible thing and calling an ambulance or HR, or anyone for that matter, they decide to hide the body. Unable to cope with the pressure of their deeds, compounded by the fact they then lose the body, they start spinning out a series of lies to cover their tracks.

The lies continue and, unexpectedly, bodies pile up, and everything becomes a larger-than-life farce that defies reasonability, reality and even absurdity. If you’re a fan of absurdity comedy or can just put aside common sense for a few hours, there are some decent laughs to be had in Working For Crumbs, but overall, it’s a bit of a sprawling hodgepodge of a show.

The cast gives it their all and, in the words of Spinal Tap, turn it up to 11. There’s complete commitment to their characters and they try to make you believe that, in the unravelling nonsense, their character would actually act that way. The direction is a bit one-dimensional and so the enthusiasm and commitment of the cast appear overblown and highly exaggerated. There’s no subtlety in the performances; physical movements and facial gestures are overegged and much of the dialogue is frenetically poured out at high volume.

The story is complete nonsense. In the early stages there’s a feeling that this could be a contemporary blend of Working Girl and 9 to 5, but Kate Danley pushes the story much further than you feel it needs to go. At the end of it all, Working For Crumbs is a show that could benefit from some judicious editing and more nuanced performances. But despite this, there’s something quite enjoyable about suspending reality and watching someone’s life spiral out of control in such a ludicrous way.

Runs until 6 May 2023 and then tours

The Reviews Hub Score

Overblown absurdist comedy

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The Reviews Hub - London

The Reviews Hub London is under the acting editorship of Richard Maguire. The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. Our mission is to provide the most in-depth, nationwide arts coverage online.

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