Review: How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying

How to SucceedBy Chris Somers 

In recent years DULOG have earned a reputation for producing some of Durham’s most spectacular and enjoyable student theatre. How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying — the group’s offering at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe — unsurprisingly upholds this reputation, and rounds off another successful year in style.

The show centres around window-washer J. Pierrepont Finch as he trades his overalls for a blue blazer and climbs the ranks of the World Wide Wicket Company following the advice of the self-help guide that lends its title to the show.

How to Succeed is an often-hilarious satire of corporate America complete with backstabbing businessmen and seductive secretaries who fall over each other in their quest to lead one of their male employers to the altar.

Susie Hudson’s choreography, and the skill with which it is executed by the cast, gives the show much of its magic. The dance numbers were consistently dazzling and impressively polished, with creative and effective use of the show’s sparse set.

The entire cast gave a very strong vocal performance and ensemble numbers sounded fantastic.  Special mention must go to Simon Lynch who gave one of the show’s standout performances in the lead role, portraying a loveable Finch with powerful vocals and strong acting throughout.

Sarah Slimani, too, gave a wonderfully memorable performance as the flirtatious and hilarious Hedy LaRue and Alex Prescot, who was strong in both of his roles, delivered the comedy moment of the night, met with laughter and applause from the enthusiastic audience at C+3.

The only, largely insignificant, criticism of the whole show would be that at times where the band would provide background music for a scene it could be difficult to make out all of the dialogue because of the volume.

Aside from this, it is difficult to fault the performance. How to Succeed is not the most innovative or ambitious thing you will see at this year’s Fringe, but it is a professionally executed and brilliantly performed piece of musical theatre.

DULOG’s show is perfect for a bit of feel-good fun at this year’s festival. And it is surely essential viewing for all Durham students or alumni who find themselves in Edinburgh this week.

How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying is at C+3, C Venues every day at 17:50 until Saturday 16th August.

Photograph: DULOG

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