Ah, the dreaded 'R' words - Reorganisation, Rationalisation and Restructuring - calculated to send a shiver down the spine of workers everywhere! These are the themes of Meredith Oakes's surreal new comedy, The Editing Process, set in the precarious world of publishing, which follows the fortunes of an obscure academic journal, 'Footnotes In History', as it is gobbled up by a large conglomerate and relocated in a new building just along the corridor from, 'Sounds Hard' magazine. Here, the small, editorial staff, joined by a young trainee fresh from 'The Bungee Jumpers' Hotline', struggle to survive the machinations of Nicholas Woodeson's sinister, pony-tailed general manager, and Anabelle Aspion's piranha-like Image Consultant, hindered by the treasonous Tom Hollander as the unappetising assistant editor, Ted, furthering his own ambitions through sexual liaisons with both!
Directed by Stephen Daldry, on Ian MacNeil's ingenious semi-circular set, and with an excellent cast led by Alan Howard as the snide, erudite editor, William, who cares more about the usage of grammar than people, and Prunella Scales as his dowdy, loyal secreatary, Peggy, the play presents a cleverly observed and often scathingly witty attack on the pretensions and deceits of modern corporate management, who smile and praise even whilst sliding in the knife. Despite occasional lapses of focus and pace, particularly in the second half, this study of human frailty and deception is a chilling comment on our times, where Restructuring, Reorganisation and Rationalisation mask the dirtiest R word of all - Redundancy!
Plays and Players Magazine, January 1995.
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