Set in the cubicles of a magazine publishing company, three twenty-something editorial assistants all viciously vie for the next step up the ladder. Initially, Gloria reminded me of Ugly Betty. It felt like watching significantly less glamorous Ugly Betty. It had similar themes of ruthless ambition in a dog eat dog world, although now within a slowly dying industry being consumed by the internet. The titular character Gloria is the office freak who is the butt of everyone’s jokes. Everyone in the office seems to be overtly unhappy but lacking in inspiration as to what to do to change, that is until something major happens at the end of the first act that shakes everything up.
SPOILERS AHEAD- Do not read the text in bold if you’re planning on seeing this play, it may inhibit your enjoyment.
Major spoiler warning! Gloria, having been snubbed one too many times, goes on a killing spree in the office. It’s sudden, bloody and visceral. I was lulled into a false sense of security thinking I knew what I was going to get from this play. I was left in a state of shock in the interval. The second act focuses on the survivors of the incident and they way in which they exploit the tragedy, gaining book and television deals. For survivors Kendra (Kae Alexander) and Dean (Colin Morgan) Gloria is the most significant thing that has happened to them. I found it all strangely relevant owing to the recent spat of tragedies this country has faced – which couldn’t have been predicted whilst the play was in post-production. Do people, whether knowingly or not, exploit tragedies for their own gain? The character’s come from a world of constant ambition so when they are thrust into a life post-disaster they are still unable to let go of their ruthlessness. It’s a fascinating and engaging story.
The cast of six are fantastic across the board. Comically multi-roling a range of different characters. Colin Morgan is especially good as the haggard yet sassy Dean (It’s been five years since the end of BBC’s Merlin and I’m still not used to Colin Morgan playing grown-up parts!) Kae Alexander also makes an amazing Kendra, caffeine-fuelled and motor-mouthed.
Brandon Jacobs-Jenkin, an American playwright, recently had a second play on in the London theatre scene – The Octoroon which closed yesterday at The Orange Tree Theatre. For those who enjoyed that I would strongly recommend seeing Gloria. If you do want to see it you are in luck! An extra week has been added to it’s run. Gloria will be at Hampstead Theatre until July 29th.
Hampton Theatre have an £10 under 30’s deal that apply to certain seats- which I personally love! It’s not just students who are poor. In my experience twenty-somethings are even more strapped-for-crash than students.
There is also a petition started by a Colin Morgan fan base asking Hampton Theatre to have the play recorded for those who do not live within travelling distance of London –> Petition to Hampton Theatre