Bob's Office Party

Bob’s Holiday Office Party
a kate west review
by Rob Elk and Joe Keyes, Directed by Justin Tanner
at The Elephant Asylum Theater, 6320 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles,
(323) 960-7717,, LAST WEEK

A new Hollywood Christmas tradition, “Bob’s Holiday Office Party” is a silly, drunken farce which blurs in your memory like a holiday hangover from a really wild party. Indeed, this appears to be the playwrights’ intent. The title character, Everyman Insurance Agent, Bob Finhead (Rob Elk), holds his annual Christmas party for his loyal and colorful eccentric small town clients. The main plotline is that in one evening, he must make a life decision affecting everyone. In the meantime, the audience is entertained by a parade of increasingly bizarre and tipsy characters who pop in and out of the action, sharing and stealing focus from one another in a joyous free-for-all. Two standouts include the hilarious Johnson sisters (the talented Laura Carson and Maile Flanagan) who echo each other with merry intensity.

It is great fun to watch each character become progressively more insane, from the likeable stoner slacker Marty (Mark Fite) to the rigidly anally repressed Margie Mincer (Andrea Hutchman), embroiled in a love affair with Bob. Ann Randolph does a good job also of balancing her two extreme characters, polar opposite twin sisters, Carol and Brandy.

Playwrights Rob Elk and Joe Keyes (playing Bob and Joe Walker, respectively), tie things up nicely with simple conflict resolutions, complete with an apparently ineffective meek villain, Elwin Beewee (subtly portrayed by Pat O’Brien), who comes back into town to confront his childhood bullies and avenge himself. Director Justin Tanner sets a fast-paced tone, dotted with outrageous antics such as Joe’s over-the-top “orgy” with the Johnson sisters and wanton Brandy’s brazen sexual openness.

All in all, it is clear that the creators and actors have polished the production over the few years it’s been running and are having the time of their lives cavorting on stage. Silly yes, and not particularly deep or meaningful so don’t go looking for lessons to be learned. It is obviously not for the serious-minded. Then again, it’s Christmas. So if you are already on your way towards holiday debauchery, stop by the Elephant for a preview of holiday madness.

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