Clowning around is serious business in hilarious send-up of corporate culture
MORRO AND JASP: 9-5 by Heather Marie Annis and Amy Lee (Factory Theatre, 125 Bathurst). To May 31. $23-$45. 416-504-9971. See listing. Rating: NNNN
Canada’s favourite clown siblings try to become entrepreneurs In Morro And Jasp: 9-5, a hilarious send-up of corporate culture that pays lots of theatrical dividends.
Setting up camp in their new office, the bossy Jasp (Amy Lee) has made herself CEO of JMI Industries (“Jasp and Morro Industries, Industries”), giving herself a big desk and letting Morro (Heather Marie Annis) construct her own out of moving boxes that still have supplies in them.
They’ve got a logo, misprinted memo pads and a new outgoing voice-mail message – complete with a jingle – but lack a product. They’d better come up with one before the group of potential investors arrives.
Cleverly directed by Byron Laviolette in the Factory Studio, whose seats are outfitted with tables so we could be at a corporate meeting (Joanna Yu is the set designer), the show doesn’t lack targets. Everything from banal water cooler discussions to office etiquette gets skewered.
The two performers, as usual, have wonderful contrasting chemistry and engage the audience in activities and polls. One scene draws very cleverly on a certain CBC-TV reality show. And the most complex and funniest sequence pays homage to a legendary I Love Lucy episode, something Lyon Smith’s sound design references, along with the classic female office film 9 To 5.
What’s remarkable about the show – about any M&J show, for that matter – is how quickly, and naturally, they move from laughs to tears. Their characters’ relationship is at the heart of their comedy, and in one brilliant section they manage to reference all their past adventures while prompting us to think of our own special memories.
9-5 is a world premiere, but I have a feeling it’ll be around for a long time. If there were stock, I’d invest.