ABOVE & BEYOND by Jaclyn Toledano (JackieTol Productions/Fringe). At the Robert Gill Theatre. July 9 at 8:30 pm, July 11 at 1 pm, July 12 at 6:15 pm, July 13 at 4 pm. See listing. Rating: NN
Jaclyn Toledano’s Above & Beyond is a comedy about office politics without dramatic conflict or tension.
Anyone who expects the kind of mordant humour of a television series like The Office will be disappointed. The show simply presents a series of realistic, occasionally amusing sketches about young people attempting to perform their uninteresting jobs.
The focus is on an educational travel company and the friendship of Nicole (Natasha Ramondino) and Jamie (Tatyana Mitchell), two travel agents who used to work for the company’s arch-rival Oyster. While Jamie excels, Nicole flounders. Though we learn that Nicole was once a top seller at Oyster, Toledano never explains the cause of Nicole’s present difficulty.
A potential source of conflict arises when Tracey (Andrea Irwin), the boss the workers like, is replaced by Andrea (also Irwin), a boss they hate. But the problem vanishes on its own when Andrea is transferred elsewhere.
Toledano’s dialogue is true to life, but that doesn’t mean it’s witty or biting, and director Rebecca Ballarin does nothing to make the play’s pacing livelier. Yet it’s clear all six members of the cast are talented and at ease on stage. What they need is a meatier play with more complex characters and dialogue to better show off their skills.