Review: Office politics are on full display as dark comedy 'Push Up' opens at the Moat Theatre this week

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Review: Office politics are on full display as dark comedy 'Push Up' opens at the Moat Theatre this week
19:30 Friday 15th of February 2019

By Kim O'Leary

For many who work in an office environment, overly competitive co-workers may be an unfortunate side effect of the job, but in the Moat Club’s latest production ‘Push Up’ takes office shenanigans to a whole new level as it opens in the Moat Theatre this week.

‘Push Up’ is set entirely in a high-rise office block and takes a satirical look at the power struggles and lust in an international corporation as three sets of rivals aggressively compete for what they desire most, cue some tearing down the fourth wall as the characters give the audience a full insight into their thoughts and feelings.

Written by German playwright Roland Schimmelpfenning and translated into English by Maja Zade, ‘Push Up’ was first performed in English at the Royal Court Theatre, London in 2002. This is the first time that the production will be performed in Ireland, and at the helm of the production is director Eugene Delaney, who has acted and directed many productions since first joining the Moat Club in 1986, and his most recent play with the Club was ‘God of Carnage’ by Yasmine Reza which he directed in 2017 and placed second in the All-Ireland Three Act Drama Festival 2017.

The Moat Club’s production of ‘Push Up’ features an ensemble and highly skilled cast which brings to life characters with varying personalities under the direction of the terrific Eugene Delaney. On Wednesday February 13 there was an excellent turn-out and the audience was enraptured in the production and cast from the get-go.

‘Push Up’ opens onto an impressively detailed set which perfectly resembles a high-rise office complete with an elevator and cubicles, and a flurry of men and women dressed in office attire carrying briefcases and phones pressed to their ears.

The audience is introduced to the skilled cast which includes security guards Heinrich (played by John Lennon) and Maria (Amanda Ryan) who watch the comings-and-goings-of the office workers with amusement. The office staff is made up of career focused Sabine (Sarah Gallagher), uptight department head Angelika (Anne Delaney), feuding work colleagues Patrizia (Rachel Lally) and Robert (Brian McCarthy) and former mentor and protégé Hans (Padraig Broe) and Frank (Conor O’Connell).

Pictured are the cast of 'Push Up' which includes Padraig Broe (Hans), Conor O'Connell (Frank), Brian McCarthy (Robert), Rachel Lally (Patrizia), Anne Delaney (Angelika) and Sarah Gallagher (Sabine)

As the audience watches the first interactions between the office workers, it soon becomes apparent that these three sets of rivals are struggling to balance their professional and personal lives, with often comical results. Their face-to-face battles are intercut with individual musings about their personal lives allowing the audience to see things from each character’s unique perspective.

The ensemble cast are all very talented and eerily realistic in their interpretation of competitive and complicated work relationships, with a wicked sense of black humor throughout the play.

Osborne Solicitors Naas are sponsoring the production of 'Push Up' as it makes its way around the qualifying drama festivals throughout March, which culminates in the prestigious RTE All-Ireland Drama Festival and will take place in the Dean Crowe Theatre in Atthlone  in May this year.

‘Push Up’, a dark comedy of office politics runs from Monday February 12-Saturday February 16 at the Moat Theatre Naas at 8pm nightly. Tickets on 045 883 030 or visit www.moattheatre.com

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