Engaging indictment of the banality of modern office life

Civil servant Dave can’t tell a lie – not even the good ones, like humouring a ten-year-old in the illusion that his drawing is a masterpiece. So he sits down, pint in hand, and tells the gathered drinkers in a pub side-room with brutal honesty about his work and colleagues in a government department so saturated in buzzwords that no one knows what it’s even for.

This 45-minute monologue written by DC Moore is a damning indictment of the utter banality of modern office life, the nonsensical jargon, and the violation of the English language by moronic middle management types. Unfortunately, at times it’s hard to hear about the pub chatter, but so engagingly is the story told by Trystan Gravelle that it hardly seems as vicious as it is. (Gravelle’s beautiful Welsh accent may have something to do with that – this play is worth seeing if for no other reason than the sheer pleasure of a Welshman saying ‘marsupial.’)

An ending that would be in danger of becoming overly sentimental if it went on any longer is a small flaw in an otherwise blackly funny, cynically perceptive piece of work.

Milne’s Bar, tickets from Assembly Rooms, 623 3030, until 30 Aug (not 23), 3.30pm & 6.30pm, £6–£8.

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