The Boss of It All

Jack McNamara, Based on the Film by Lars von Trier

New Perspectives

Assembly Roxy

From 01 August 2013 to 26 August 2013

Rating: ***

Review by Philip Fisher

Jack McNamara has staged a real coup in getting the rights to stage the first ever UK version of cult auteur Lars von Trier’s 2006 movie of the same name.

As one might expect, this is a witty intellectual game that has hidden layers and challenges audience members to take their own positions through a series of moral exercises.

The general premise is that Ross Armstrong’s Ravn owns a company but has been too timid to tell his staff, masquerading as no more than a fellow worker.

Therefore, when a boss is needed at a meeting, he recruits Kristoffer, an actor played by Gerry Howell. Pretentious understates the behaviour of this cypher but he does fulfil a number of roles.

His two main tasks are to sell the company to a rude Icelander and later bond with the staff, which he manages with impressive results.

He also makes life hell for the manipulative Ravn, ensuring that shafting his colleagues becomes a much greater challenge than would otherwise have been the case.

An unseen voice, representing the author, wryly comments and directs the audience throughout.

The play is an odd mixture of portrayal of mundanity and witty exposé of office politics, which will probably receive mixed responses but eventually justifies the concentration required to follow the plot.