Work can be incredibly stressful. And if you’d somehow forgotten that during August in Edinburgh, Alastair Curtis’ three-handed comedy Dining Al Desko – a hit at the National Student Drama Festival earlier this year – is here to remind you.
It follows three office workers – Julie, Trish and Tom – as they negotiate the perils and pitfalls of their day-to-day jobs. Julie, an anxious receptionist, frets about her rapidly diminishing responsibilities and worries about getting fired. Trish, a vacuous, selfie-obsessed marketing manager, does nothing but spout crap all day and avoid the clutches of her over-familiar superiors. And Tom, the company accountant, frantically shreds paperwork in the basement before the auditors get to it.
Director Philippa Lawford coaxes three decent comedic performances out of India Opzoomer, Mia Georgis, and Christopher Page, each of them spiralling disastrously out of control as the play progresses.
But although Curtis’ play offers a bit more depth when it takes a darker turn in the last 15 minutes, with gambling, sexual harassment and depression all rearing their heads, it’s ultimately crippled by a sincerely unsophisticated structure. The three narratives are entirely separate, proceeding on their separate tracks in chunk after chunk. A dull day at the office.