The company’s digital offering, The Boss of It All (part of Soho Theatre online), is an adaptation of Lars Von Triers movie that cannily reinvents Jack McNamara’s 2013 stage version, first seen at the Edinburgh fringe.
These layers of reimagining are appropriate for a show that is all about nimbleness and reinvention. It tells of how start-up owner Ravn finds himself with a problem that needs a solution. He has never admitted to his employees that he is the boss of the company, instead inventing an absent owner of the company. But with a buy-out looming he must produce the owner. So, he employs an out-of-work actor to impersonate the mythical boss.
This is a performance that is both playful and knowing, from the clever credits at the start to the wry voiceover segments that offer a philosophical slant on human behaviour in both offices and lockdown. There is quite a lot about its witty approach that reminded me of the David Tennant/ Michael Sheen TV vehicle, Staged.
Josie Lawrence, Ross Armstrong, Yuriko Kotani, Jamie de Courcey, Rachael Summers & Angela Bain.
It plays neatly on the conventions and culture of Zoom and home working, and how old office rivalries and disagreements resurface in online gatherings. McNamara and his excellent cast very much play to the gallery in a show that constantly comments on the way everyone in the office plays a role, becoming as typecast as any actor.
As the actor employed to play the boss, Josie Lawrence is a delight, capturing just the right mixture of self-absorption (the previous highlight of her career was touring a solo version of Hedda Gabler around village halls), panic (forcing her to improvise) and deviousness as she gets more fully immersed into the role.
This is a clever piece of work from an increasingly clever company. It's also one that delivers on the comedy even as it sends up office culture, and ponders what it means to lead and act the leader.
You can watch The Boss Of It All via Soho Theatre On Demand. Tickets here.