FUNNY BUSINESS: THE MUSICAL by Daniel Abrahamson, Rachel Brittain and Dan Falk, directed by Marc Richard (Good Company Entertainment). At Diesel Playhouse (56 Blue Jays Way). To October 7. $34.50. 416-971-5656, www.dieselplayhouse.com. Rating: NNNN
There's something deeply satisfying about a good office comedy. The brainchild of ambitious young start-up Good Company Entertainment , Funny Business: The Musical takes the corporate inanities captured so well in shows like The Office and brings them to the stage - with song and dance.
The instigator of all the singing and dancing is Stuart ( J. Sean Elliott ), the obsequious manager of Chime Communications' Toronto branch. Informed that his office is seriously underperforming, Stuart does what any clueless middle manager worth an all-expenses-paid team-building trip to Punta Cana would do: he organizes a talent show to boost company morale.
Stuart's ragtag team of performing monkeys includes office secretary Brie ( Lana Carillo ), Jack the Gen-Y nerd ( Trevor Campbell ), Diane the undersexed marketeer ( Alison Woolridge ) and Marcus ( Chris Trussell ) the smooth-talking sales guy (imagine Ben Mulroney with sex appeal and you're getting close.)
We, the audience, play the role of the corporate drones who have come to be inspired by such hokey ditties as Welcome To The Business and We Can Keep It Together.
Funny Business was a hit at this year's Fringe Festival, and for its run at Diesel Daniel Abrahamson (lyrics and score) and writers Rachel Brittain and Daniel Falk (book) have added an intermission and a whack of material to bring it to a full two hours.
The additional lines may be the reason the cast takes a few numbers to find their feet, but this is a minor failing. Under Marc Richard 's competent direction, the show soon flies especially in the second act, when the team spirit is dropped as the talent show devolves into a competition of a much more Darwinian kind.
By the time the five get to the rabble-rousing You Can't Fire Me, I Quit! you'll be hard pressed not to join in.
Also of note are the screens that designer Dennis Horn incorporates into the set. Not only do they allow a faceless hack from HR to comment on Stuart's inappropriate workplace vocabulary, but they also allow us to witness the show's unlikely lovebirds getting busy in the wings.