The Boss of It All

  • Theatre
  • Drama
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© Pamela Raith

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© Pamela Raith

'The Boss Of It All'

Given the current British obsession with all things Danish – from mid-century interior design to TV’s ‘Borgen’ and ‘The Killing’ – it is less of a shock than it might once have been to find the Soho’s main auditorium transformed into the offices of a Danish IT company. This is the setting for ‘The Boss of It All’, the 2006 comedy by tricksy film director Lars von Trier, here presented in its first UK stage adaptation by Jack McNamara, who also directs.

The film transfers nimbly to the stage – not least because it is, at its heart, concerned with theatricality and play-making, and the many roles we are forced to play in corporate life. Ravn (Ross Armstrong) is the slippery, fawning head of an IT company who has invented a fictional boss to keep his staff from blaming him for any of the tricky decisions. Kristoffer (Gerry Howell) is the out-of-work actor Ravn employs to impersonate the boss before the Icelandic businessmen to whom he wishes to sell the company.

So begins a chain of events that, in this impressively slick adaptation, adds up to a deeply meta examination of the permeable border between reality and artifice, and is also a good deal funnier than that might sound. The gender politics are not as enlightened as we have come to expect of Danish drama: the two female characters – each of whom becomes sexually obsessed with Kristoffer as their fake boss – are no more than cardboard cut-outs. But that, to be fair, itself says something interesting about the limited roles available to women in the workplace. See just how meta all this can get?