2010 Edmonton Fringe Review Day 4

The History of Lost and Found is about a man and woman who work in the deep basement of a privately owned transit company who are responsible for the Lost and Found. Erik (Evan Moesher) is smarter than he appears, a scientifically curious man who gets to spend at least some of his time up at the actual busses. Emily (Keira McDonald) is left down below to catalog the items. When they're together, they both act out little homemade skits using the lost and found items as props and costumes. Unfortunately, something called "the cat incident" means that at least one of them is going to be fired, unless they come up with a daring plan. This work is not really suited for public audiences, its the sort of thing that would-be actors have to perform to a casting agent to show their chops. The mini-skits really drag this play down: when the plot is being advanced its half-decent entertainment. But there's only so many slight variations in accents and nuances before the mini plays start to become incredibly dull and drag the work down. I understand that the mini-plays are necessary for the characterization, but they didn't need that many: the plot just gets going in time to die down again. History of Lost and Found turns out to be lost far too quickly, and then comes the slow drive until it's history.

In An Informative Guide on How to Climb the Corporate Ladder, playwright Gavin Williams leads the audience on a brief overview of living the world of a big faceless company. He begins with the job interview, with the halfways clever notion that your answers to interview questions should be about how your personality matches that of the company you work for. Unless you're working for BP, perhaps? From there it moves onto the various types of jobs, and the details of office politics. Williams is high energy and keeps the pacing very tight, especially in the early part of the play. Michael Roik and Renee Amber are solid though not exceptionally impressive as the supporting cast, and the romance subplot kind of stalls out at the end. As you can expect from staving artists, the play's ultimate message is that you should quit your corporate job and...survive...somehow. Remember kids, Gavin Williams never heard that line "don't give up your day job" that your Dad is given at family parties every time he tries to be Johnny Carson.

Like a corporate training seminar that features a slightly embarrassing role-playing exercise, An Informative Guide on How to Climb the Corporate Ladder could stand to have been a little bit longer with more of the interesting "meaty" part and less of the unnecessary distraction.