Review: Colin Morgan and Ellie Kendrick in Gloria, Hampstead Theatre (spoiler free and spoiler versions)
I work in an office and I work in publishing so there is definitely stuff to relate to in Branden Jacobs-Jenkins play which is set at the offices of a New York magazine. Naturally, there are some cultural differences, we don't tend to have cubicle workspaces here in the UK and perhaps favour a passive-aggressive tone rather than direct confrontation, but the tensions, annoyances and rivalries are pretty much the same.
What we get in Gloria is a portrait of human nature and relationships in a world of modern media, as told through the prism of office life, workplace tedium and ambition; and that portrait shows its true colours after a particular incident in the office.
Colin Morgan, Ellie Kendrick and Kae Alexander play editorial assistants Dean, Ani and Kendra at the magazine. They are young and ambitious, anxious to keep their careers moving. The presence of intern Miles (Bayo Gbadamosi) seems to bring out the best and worst of their ambitions, a symbol of just how far their careers have or haven't got. They measure their ambition in status: getting your own office and having an assistant and against what everyone else has or hasn't done - and how long they have or haven't done it.
The first half centre's on the morning after co-worker Gloria's (Sian Clifford) flat-warming party and the growing battle to write up the obituary profile of a pop star who has committed suicide. The second half is the fall out after the particular incident - more of which in the spoiler version below, but this is play probably best enjoyed knowing little of the actual plot.