By Colin Flaherty
This show is exactly what it says on the tin – Sarah Bennetto presents us with a list of mistakes that she has made, telling the story behind each or making a short joke. While they seem to be ranked according to the importance she gives them, the order in which they are revealed works up to the core message of the show.
I could be pedantic and say that not all on the list are “mistakes” (we have regrets, circumstance and character traits in amongst them) but they do fit in perfectly with the overall story Bennetto is telling. We hear about embarrassing social faux pas, wacky hijinks (see Sarah’s social media for coverage of the Rainbow Unicorn Piñata Saga), cute familial rituals and many missed opportunities.
Things take a sharp turn into serious territory with a shocking revelation and the laughs come to a halt. It does seem that this issue is still a bit too raw for Sarah to scrutinise too closely as she hasn’t found a way to successfully find the humour in it. This tends to push this performance firmly into comedy as therapy territory but it’s an important issue that she needs to talk about. Thankfully some comedy relief is in sight with the cute but doomed colourful fella who has been sitting on her table throughout the show.
Bennetto is a charming and delightful performer. Her storytelling skills are top notch (unsurprising as she is creator of the regular Storyteller’s Club night and touring concern) but her observational stand up is just as strong. This is a immensely personal show and she steps up to the challenge of finding humour amongst the disappointments.
All My Life’s Mistakes, Catalogued (Volume One) is on at Laughing Horse @ Espionage until August 26
This show is free (donation)
By Colin Flaherty
In this comic play written by Sarah Bennetto we are thrust into the unforgiving and uncaring world that is a temp office worker. Sarah plays the put upon receptionist who attempts to get through the work day with the least amount of scars.
This world is populated by oddball people with weird eccentricities who are brilliantly portrayed by the cast. We have the terse Department Manager (played by Celia Paquola), the barely functioning CEO (Tom Webb), the lecherous pants man (Robin Clyfan), the more important than he seems Janitor (James Dowdeswell) and the scheming fellow temp (Alex Edelman). These hyper-real characters are ones that those who have ever worked in an office will recognise.
Often the audience is cleverly included in the office environment to expand the world beyond the stage which is quite fun. There is also a fair bit of de-construction with some witty, knowing winks to the audience that emphasised the light-heartedness of the piece. At times it seems as though the performers are trying their darnedest to improvise bits in attempts to throw their fellow cast members (and regularly succeeding). The decision to highlight the deviation rather than plough onwards gives the show a fun, loose feel and highlights their enthusiasm for the material, although an audience looking for a tightly scripted play may find this annoying.
The staging is quite simple with basic office furniture and characters frequently entering and leaving from either side of the stage. The high volume of foot traffic gives the plot a sense of speed in spite of the static scenes of dialogue. Although the transition between scenes isn’t always clear, the action takes place over a number of days so it gets a little disorientating at times.
It’s a show that dips its toes into the cringe comedy of other office based productions but doesn’t get too dark as it tells an interesting and amusing tale. Get a hold of all of your workmates and spend an hour in this disfunctional workplace.
The Temps is on at the Pleasance Courtyard.