Review: Welcome to Self Co. (Tiny Theatre at Garnet Station)
Updated: Jun 2, 2022
Corporate humour is, for the most part, fairly safe ground. It is an area to which most people can drag up unpleasant memories about being a mouse in a wheel to relate to the jokes about them. The only risk when making a sketch show of corporate humour is to play it too safe and tell jokes and create scenarios we have seen a million times before, or else don't deliver on the physical comedy as much as necessary to truly mock the office work place., for example see "Enterprise" at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2017. "Welcome to Self Co." introduces us to Louise, who has just landed her "dream job" working for Self Co., working hard to produce and sell depression and poor life choices to herself and others.
The sketches comprise of fast and sharp comedy where Louise's life gets more and more down hill as she is gradually lumbered with being over worked, underpaid, and underappreciated, all delivered in painful corporate lingo. In doing so the show spoke about a serious issue without being too serious in delivery, coming across almost as forgiving for anyone in the audience going through similar emotions caused by similar reasons.
Written by and starring Hope Kennedy-Smith, each joke isolated is only as good as its delivery. Some jokes go on for long stretches of time, for example when being interviewed for her new job Louise is asked if she is willing to "binge eat", "work long hours", give up on her "hopes, dreams and aspirations", the list goes on and on. Even so, jokes like this remain funny throughout on the back of the performances of Kennedy-Smith and the supporting cast - Michaela Spratt as the Boss and Titiana Daniels as Louise's friend and co-worker. Spratt is especially entertaining through her incredibly expressive face portraying her eternal disgust.
There is not a great deal of variety in the performance - most jokes are one liners ("Then go down to the paranoia department - don't ask anyone anything I don't trust them") and are delivered at one hundred miles per hour, but it has a satisfyingly consistent pace and it thoroughly entertaining for it. You will most likely recognise some aspect of Louise's predicament in your own life, so whether you're looking for a little relief in the black comedy of office-induced depression, or just a chuckle at the lunacy of the corporate world, "Welcome to Self Co." is definitely worth seeing. Four stars.
Whispers from the crowd:
"I thought it was really good - it's a challenging subject, but it could apply to anyone, which is really cool."