Away Day is an exercise in picking your targets. As a show it’s really quite mean-spirited, with almost all of the characters functioning as figures of ridicule or scorn. Those characters, however, are generally ones you’d lather derision and scorn on anyway. Typically, the scopes are trained at corporate office culture and modern fascinations with team-building and networking in particular.
It’s a very astute dressing down, for the most part. Double act Lola and Jo are fantastic impressionists, and without much costuming, manage to enliven an array of mostly loathsome characters, with impeccable changes in accent and body language to match each new cretin.
Sketches revolve around the crushingly mundane rubbing up against the slightly surreal, and absurd. From a wake held in a tacky golf club, to a branding-obsessed charity run, it’s all tied together by the running gag of a disastrous work ‘away day.’
What’s astonishing is the regularity with which you can almost kind of believe that a sketch could really happen. Generally the situations are familiar, but stretched to farcical lengths, and while you sit intellectually very aware it’s nonsense, it’s hard not to imagine something similar has happened somewhere or other.
Marred by a less than ideal venue and some slightly awkward transitions – which to be fair they make work for them – Away Day is a warped journey throughout the weird world of modern employment, and a gallery of the neurotic weirdos that inhabit it. Good fun.