Lockdown review: The Boss of It All

Soho Theatre on Demand brings Zoom, Josie Lawrence, and the world of work to the digital theatre space. I’m joining The Boss of It All on the final live performance – the first was on 18 September.

Jack McNamara adapts Lars Van Trier’s film into a Zoom experience, and Natalie Palamides is the special guest. It’s office politics with an improvised slant, and we’re watching it streamed live to YouTube.

Ice freezes around the little windows as Gorm, Lise, Spencer, Mette, Ravn and “The Boss” have their meeting, and things get just a little bit strange. These are bizarre people in a bizarre world.

Cast of The Boss of It All
Cast of The Boss of It All

As Kristina – the actress hired to impersonate the always-busy Sven – Lawrence brings a manic energy as she has to deal with a team meeting, a training seminar, and some rather odd appraisals, all online. All office workers know the drill – suggest a word, jolly each other along, fake the enthusiasm.

These scenes are punctuated by an earnest Danish narrator (Tone Haldrup Lorenzen) of the slightly sarcastic style, and snatches of music. It’s very normal, and yet it isn’t. And who really is The Boss? It could be any or none of them.

I enjoyed Jamie De Courcey’s office bore Spencer and Angela Bain’s intense production manager Gorm, but all the cast have something to contribute, as their characters send rude emojis in training, sing at inappropriate moments, and generally behave just the way colleagues thrown together do.

Josie Lawrence in The Boss of It All
Josie Lawrence in The Boss of It All

McNamara directs as well as writes, and handles a cast based around the globe coming together in a seamless whole: if there were any snafus during the stream, I did not notice them, and everything flowed well.

Darius Powell, Digital Producer, and Adam Crowther, credited as Technical Delivery Officer, should be commended for the work bringing all the elements together and making it feel fresh right to the last performance.

The captions are also witty on the “waiting room” screens, for example “the host is deciding whether to let you in”, and as a regular watcher of Zoom drama, I was glad to see the old “muted” gag only reared its head once.

Josie Lawrence and Angela Bain in The Boss of It All
Josie Lawrence and Angela Bain in The Boss of It All

Ultimately this was not exactly groundbreaking, but it worked well as a Zoom production streamed to YouTube. Running 1 hr 35, it was well-paced and had lots of lockdown humour.

The Boss of It All was streamed by Soho Theatre at £8 per ticket.

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