Set in the office of men’s magazine Gentlemen Prefer…, RJ Purdey’s play gives a funny and frank insight into the frustrations, concerns and daily grind of life as a sub editor.
There’s plenty of in-jokes for subs to snigger at, from “What’s the house style for hip hop?” to digs at “illiterate” writers, while the play also touches on more serious issues threatening the profession, such as the digital age and subs being a luxury nobody can afford any more.
But you don’t need to be a sub editor to enjoy this play. Purdey’s witty script with its universal themes, ranging from office romance to the new generation taking over the old, transcend any geeky references to hyphens and fonts, while the characters are all recognisable.
Dark, dirty but lovable, Michael Cusick’s Finch is a particularly well-developed character. Addicted to internet porn and fed up in his job, the arrival of a female sub challenges all his preconceptions of subbing being a “traditional occupation like mining or slavery” and therefore an unusual choice for a girl.
Vincent Jerome plays the rather two-dimensional character James, Naomi Waring is excellent as the new recruit Anna, while Euan Macnaughton delivers a convincing performance as chief sub Derek, who struggles to balance his role as a husband and father with his workload.