Quango 193

Quango 193
© Pete Bartlett

At a time of economic crisis, how far are we prepared to go to protect our livelihoods? That’s the question Universal Citizens seek to address with this site-specific piece about a culled quango. But the answers are somewhat confused.

The idea is to theatricalise the ravening dog-eat-dog ethos of the modern workplace – to suggest that, threatened with redundancy, we might all transform into, er, murderous wolves. The result is like ‘The Office’ meets ‘Jurassic Park’, a schlocky and stylised dark comedy with unrealised dramatic and political aspirations.

It unfolds in an actual office. The audience rings the room while, at their work stations, the cast enact the apocalyptic fallout when self-serving boss Jim concedes they’ll all soon be out of a job. If you read what follows as a tongue-in-cheek, expressionist take on neurotic modernity, then Kate McGregor’s production has eye-popping appeal.

The problem comes when, despite their wildly inconsistent and improbable behaviour, we’re asked to care about these ciphers and to take their antics seriously as social commentary. Not a success, then – but it fails boldly.

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