‘Delivers a solid & profoundly uncomfortable punch’: FOLLOW SUIT – Vault Festival

In Festivals, London theatre, Opinion, Plays, Reviews by Laura KresslyLeave a Comment

The Vaults, London – until 11 March 2018
Guest reviewer: Meredith Jones Russell

As you enter Follow Suit, four people dressed in variously ill-fitting suits stare back at you. When you leave 45 minutes later, you realise you’ve barely glanced away from them. And their gazes have hardly left yours either.

Part of the fun of Follow Suit is your fellow audience, whether it’s the latecomers sardonically ticked off by the cast or the person behind you who can’t hold off the snort of laughter. Ultimately you’re in this together and the cast is completely aware of you throughout – they play to your reactions, and ultimately to your conscience.

The production, a slick, dark comedy of the absurd, satirises the dry routine and empty pointlessness of office life. The four main cast members barely utter a word from start to finish, but every movement is clean, clear and vital to the narrative.

Not that there is much of a narrative, really. With a physical, clowning approach, the performers deftly skewer the monotony and soullessness of a City job and capitalism, in general, using repeated movements and words which occasionally build to almost transcendent sequences set to classical music.

Clever use of lighting shows how hard they are working and hints at the burnout such workers inevitably experience, with the four moaning and gurning when their light goes out until they are “switched on” again.

There is no obvious storyline linking all this apart from the repeated appearances of a mysterious man lugging large packages towards a filing cabinet, apparently unnoticed by the people on stage.

The final movement, which goes some way towards explaining this, is less subtle than the obscure pantomime that goes before it, but given the length of the show it provides just the right bite and makes a piece which might otherwise feel directionless deliver a solid and profoundly uncomfortable punch.

Laura Kressly
Laura is a US immigrant who has lived in the UK since 2004. Originally trained as an actor with a specialism in Shakespeare, she enjoyed many pre-recession years working as a performer, director and fringe theatre producer. When the going got too tough, she took a break to work in education as a support worker, then a secondary school drama teacher. To keep up with the theatrical world, she started reviewing for Everything Theatre and Remotegoat in 2013. In 2015, Laura started teaching part time in order to get back into theatre. She is now a freelance fringe theatre producer and runs her independent blog, theplaysthethinguk.com.
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Laura Kressly
Laura is a US immigrant who has lived in the UK since 2004. Originally trained as an actor with a specialism in Shakespeare, she enjoyed many pre-recession years working as a performer, director and fringe theatre producer. When the going got too tough, she took a break to work in education as a support worker, then a secondary school drama teacher. To keep up with the theatrical world, she started reviewing for Everything Theatre and Remotegoat in 2013. In 2015, Laura started teaching part time in order to get back into theatre. She is now a freelance fringe theatre producer and runs her independent blog, theplaysthethinguk.com.