O, FFS

Sat 11th – Sat 25th August 2018

reviews

Jessica Loram

at 09:37 on 23rd Aug 2018

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‘O, FFS’ by Ytho? Theatre Company is a hilarious send up of office life at the heart of a children’s charity and a stagnating staff team of three. Scripted by Cressida Peever, the concept is brilliant. The script time hops, allowing each character (Ben, Gail and Angela) to explain their side of the story through interview and sketch form. We consequently see three versions of the same situation: how workers Ben, Gail and Angela conspire to turn their boss’ absence into a promotion for one of them. When Sacha (Aoife Smyth) from head office turns up, these three must do all they can to ensure she does not take what one of them surely deserves. For me, comedy is all about perception, and perhaps this is why ‘O, FFS’ is the funniest Fringe comedy I’ve seen this year.

The play is fast-paced and tongue in cheek. Meet Ben, the office’s slimy misogynist. Liam Falk plays this character so skilfully you feel like you’ve met him before. And you probably have; the characterisation is brilliant because each cast member is very familiar. There’s sweet Angela (Helen Fenton) who perfectly inhabits all the symptoms of a “millennial baby” - who is so impressionable, you don’t know whether to laugh or weep. Jessica Bichard’s Russian accent as the self-righteous Gail (who would "take Watchdog over Love Island" any day) is a brilliant touch, and Aoife Smith’s character transition between each version of events is impressive.

Not only is the script on point, but the cast’s physical movements are watchable and slick. I like how in some conversations characters face the audience, rather than each other. It emphasises the sense of disconnection between individuals' perceptions. Even if the staff are stuck in their ways, there’s never a dull moment at the Coventry office of the children’s charity; Ytho? Theatre keep us hooked and highly entertained throughout.

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Sally Christmas

at 09:45 on 23rd Aug 2018

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When their boss doesn’t show up to work one morning, co-workers Angela, Gail and Ben begin a fierce competition for his job. But, as Sascha from the head office is drafted in over their heads, they are forced to team up and reach new lows in a desperate attempt to push her out. The chaos that ensues is as funny as it is ingenious. The YTHO? Theatre Company’s production of 'O, FFS' has a brilliant script and perfect delivery, and every single second impressed.

'O, FFS' tries to unpick Sascha’s traumatic first day in the office, with Angela, Gail and Ben all giving their own version of events, placing different spins on the truth. With each moment played out three times, the play was at serious risk of losing itself, becoming confusing, repetitive and dull. Fortunately, the script, written by Cressida Peever, was far too good for that. Each character’s perspective is uniquely hilarious. Ben is a wannabe alpha male who considers himself to be "better than everyone at everything," Gail believes she is intellectually superior to the people around her – if Sascha is Love Island, Gail, apparently, is Watchdog – whereas Angela is wonderfully naive and effectively a "very small but very old child."

The contrast between their stories is wonderful, bringing fabulous one-liners, innuendo after innuendo, and even a dodgy Russian accent to the table. As their egos clash and their schemes get out of hand, the consequences become more serious on the stage, and even funnier for the audience. The storyline is simple but clever, and the script is well-structured, creating the perfect platform for the comedy; neither distracts from the other, with two aspects coming together to produce something wonderful.

A caricature of office life, the piece showcases a perfect balance of absurdity, wit and self-awareness. The show pokes fun at the reputation of millennials, with running jokes about entitlement, veganism and avocados punctuating almost every scene, yet somehow never getting old. The pace never wavered, the energy never fell, and with its sharp timing and infallible cast, this show is something truly spectacular. It’s rare to find a piece of comedy where every punchline delivers, and no joke falls flat, but 'O, FFS' had us laughing non-stop, start to finish. I simply cannot fault it.

Combining an expert script with a perfect delivery, 'O, FFS' offers a fantastic show with a wonderful premise and an even better outcome. The cast are incredible, delivering brilliant material with impeccable timing, and the show is near-enough flawless. This is exactly what I was waiting to see.

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