The Office Xmas Party

Cross Street Studios, Auckland

10/12/2009 - 20/12/2009

Production Details

The Outfit Theatre Co. are proud to present ‘The Office Xmas Party’, a hilarious end of year farce which documents an office Christmas party as it snowballs madly out of control….

Shadstone Carpets is a family company. Noel Shadstone inherited the family business from his recently deceased father Big Norm. The eighty-nine year old Norm Shadstone is survived only by his socially inadequate and romantically challenged son Noel, his estranged narcoleptic daughter Buttercup and his thirty year old wife, former glamour model Janice.

Noel can’t seem to find the right time to let his staff know that the company is about to close and that they’re all being made redundant. With a staff like this, secrets don’t stay secret for long. There’s Chris, the office playboy; Evan, the internet-dating loser from accounts; and Christina, the Christmas-crazy, potentially psychotic receptionist.

When every character has a secret to keep, a murder to cover up or a twisted romance to hide, the annual Shadstone Christmas party is a powder keg waiting to blow. When Detective Inspector Chad McAvoy arrives to find a missing woman, all hell breaks loose!

Bring your friends, grab your work mates and celebrate the festive season with the
cheapest, fastest, craziest theatre piece that the laws of physics will allow.

WHAT: The Office Xmas Party
by The Outfit Theatre Co.

WHEN: December 10th – 20th, 8pm every night

WHERE:The Cross Street Studios, Upstairs, 27 Cross Street, Behind K’ Road
              (car park on corner of cross st and mercury lane, and free parking in area after 6pm)

COST:  Full: $15
Concession:  $10  (concession includes Students, Senior citizens and Equity members!)
     Group 6+:  $10
Special Office / Group deal: Book 20 tickets or more at $10 each, and also receive 5 extra tickets for free!!!

BOOKINGS: Email bookings to:  


Boss / Noel - Andrew Ford
Head Boss/ Janice - Gypsy Kauta
Secretary/ Christina - Toni Rowe
Temp/ Claudia - Jacqui Nauman
Accountant/ Evan - Pete Coates
Sales & Marketing/ Chris - Joel Herbert
Qatar Royalty/ Princess Jasmine - Solitaire Mahmoud
Sister/ Buttercup - Holly Bradfield
Cop/ Chad - Francis Mountjoy

An utter explosion of fun

Review by Caoilinn Hughes 12th Dec 2009

The opening line of the programme for The Office Xmas Party speaks volumes: "This play is what it is – a ‘play’." The disclaimer goes on to suggest that the evening’s performance is "sticky warm" way out of worrying about Christmas shopping, looming deadlines and credit card payments. And sticky warm it was in the rafters of the intimate Cross Street Studios’ theatre space-come-living room. But the play’s programme undermines its strength.

As much as its advertising would suggest, The Outfit Theatre Company production is not a fluffy, frivolous Christmas romp; it is a gutsy, riotous all-out farce. Although the show takes a few minutes to warm up, as we are introduced to the meek and pitiful owner of Shadstone Carpets, Noel (Andrew Ford) and his systematically-infatuated secretary (Christina, played by Toni Rowe), the performance heats up rapidly.

Noel, who inherited the family business from his recently deceased father, ‘Big Norm’, cannot build up the courage to inform his colleagues that the business is done-for. However, in an attempt to keep his unemployed new girlfriend, he brings her into the business as a temp, much to the vexation of his fervent secretary. 

Meanwhile, his thirty year old promiscuous step-mother, Janice (played wildly and wonderfully by Gypsy Kauta) – who is the key stakeholder in the business – turns up with less than bells on, followed by her stuck up, narcoleptic daughter, Buttercup (Holly Bradfield).

While Noel painfully tries to manage his sister’s negativity, the sexual advances of his step-mother (and the questionable circumstances of his father’s death), his girlfriend’s high expectations (and the lurking shadow of her psychotic ex-boyfriend), in addition to the terrible news he must bestow upon his employees, all eyes are fixed on another character: the sales and marketing guy.

Although Noel is the central character of the play, the spotlight is on horny, wisecrack Chris, played brilliantly by Joel Herbert. His witty dialogue, captivating physicality and perfect comic timing brings the show together. I was not surprised to discover that although this play was devised by the group, Joel oversaw the script-writing. "We all wrote our own characters’ lines, and at the end of each day, I’d just take it home and put it all together", he explained.

The performance follows a steady (if rapid) rhythm of tension and release; allowing the audience to recover from whatever drug has been dropped in the punch bowl. "We don’t want the audience to be stressed," Andrew Ford laughed.

And in the end, true to its disclaimer, if audience members were stressed before the show, they won’t be stressed leaving the small and friendly Cross Street theatre. Not because they have witnessed a sit-back-and-chuckle comedy, but because they have taken part in an utter explosion of fun.
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