RUN by Engineer Theatre Collective at the New Diorama Theatre

What does it take to get to the top of a big financial corporation? Hard work? Maybe a well-connected uncle? Prescription drugs? Developed in conversation with people working or interning in the financial sector, Engineer Theatre Collective have developed an extremely engaging and entertaining piece of theatre showing the grim realities of entering such a world and the kind of people you will meet there.

Four interns, Ana, Caroline, Lawrence and Tim, all from different backgrounds, start internships at a big company. Hardworking Ana is from Bosnia and is determined to get to the top and make a living for herself. Caroline is quieter but equally determined. Growing up in a Christian family expecting to become a missionary, she experienced doubt in her faith and came to the realisation that finance was the best route. Lawrence, is the one with the family contact, enjoys holidays in Sicily and is definitely the one we love to hate. As for Tim, new to London, he is slightly less sure of his path and the industry generally but like the others reluctant to give up easily. Together the four experiences present a snapshot of the lifestyles and scenarios arising from work placements of this type. Interns are literally waiting for metaphorical scraps to be thrown at them for their chance to take a step forward. One extreme experience has tragic consequences.

Although extremely quick witted, well-scripted and comedic, there was much more to this than the surface image of four interns struggling to get on. Brilliantly worked into the piece were some moments of physical theatre that took this show to another level. Aside from the very slick scene changes, the physical moments tended to focus on Caroline. Her pleasure at finally being thrown an opportunity, her lift daydream and her final circuit, worked seamlessly with the swift and sharp nature of the piece. The club scene involving everyone was also extremely effective in being comical whilst making evident the reality of how stupid clubbing is.

Brilliantly crafted by Engineer, they have combined an excellent script with some unexpected physical moments, that paired with effective sound (Dominic Kennedy), narrative and acting, to produce a very watchable and informing show. Co-directors Jesse Fox and Simon Lyshon have made some brilliant decisions in setting and presenting this piece, with the swift changes and motion, mimicking the slick and high paced world of the financial sector.

The acting throughout was of a very high standard from Gabriella Margulies, Charlotte Watson, Al Jarrett and Joseph Sentance. All four actors showed a maturity and ease in their characters that defied their age. Whilst RUN showed what is required to make an impact in the financial sector, this theatre company showed us what is needed to make a big theatrical impact. Keep your eyes on Engineer because these cats are going places!

Highlight of the show: Caroline’s daydream – brutally attacking Ana in the lift. Surreal physical theatre at its best!

WIGS 5/5

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