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A review by Vanessa Bunn for EXTRA! EXTRA!




Engineer Theatre Collective presents




Photo by Sarah Beaton


Directors - Jesse Fox and Simon Lyshon

Designer – Sarah Beaton

Sound Designer – Dominic Kennedy

Lighting Designer – Oscar Wyatt


New Diorama Theatre


25-29 Nov 2014



Run follows four new City interns as they compete for coveted places at a London investment bank over the course of ten weeks. The play was influenced by the true story of Moritz Erhardt, a 21 year-old intern who died after suffering an epileptic seizure at his London flat having apparently worked 72 hours straight during one such internship. Run is a fictional portrait of the interning lives of these four ambitious graduates, developed by Engineer theatre following discussions with people working in the financial industry in London. The interns are represented by a four-person ensemble and any other characters, such as work superiors, mothers and girlfriends are present only as voices on an intercom or at the other end of a phone.

Candidate one (Joseph Sentance) is a reluctant, oafish sort who struggles with ill-fitting suits and the fact that he finds the finance industry morally dubious and emotionally deadening. There’s a rather magnetic relentlessly cold woman (Beatrice Scirocchi) whose put downs and rock-hardness startle and humor in equal measure. Caroline (Charlotte Watson) is the second female intern, she  was religiously inclined at university but is now an atheist – her new deity is work and having lost a twin at birth she feels she has everything to prove, chiefly to herself. First impressions of the final applicant, Lawrence (Al Jarret), are that he is a spoiled brat with an inflated sense of entitlement. As events progress it turns out he might be the only one with an eye on the bigger picture who entertains the possibility of life outside the square mile.

Whilst the dialogue is arguably the strongest element of the play, it is far from the central preoccupation.  Movement, physicality and bodily functions are constantly at the crux and form a critical part of the how the story is told. Music, movement and dialogue are all fast paced and, in some tightly choreographed scenes, the mechanical nature of the work that the interns do appears to have seeped into their bodily movements. The scene changes also have a sense of urgency about them as the stage fades to black and items are hurried on and off.

In a scene which is strikingly true-to-life, Caroline comes home drunk on alcohol, loud music and, chiefly, exhaustion. As she removes her shoes and clothes in a drunken daze her movements are exceptionally convincing. When her alarm goes off mere moments later and she struggles back into her clothes to start a new day the empathy roused is almost unbearable.

The play explores the motivations behind intense ambition and an eternal unquenchable desire for more, but it leaves new questions rather than answers at its close. I didn’t come away with any clear conclusions about banking internships as a whole, or with any idea about what the role which causes such high pressure, such long hours and such all-encompassing ambition actually is about. In an aside, and it’s a minor gripe, none of the characters were well-presented enough for me to believe they’d be accepted for high-end city internships. While Caroline’s increasingly dishevelled appearance was clearly symptomatic of her physical decline, the starting position costume-wise for all the characters was unconvincingly bland.

While we get a look at these four characters, we only hear the occasional recorded voice of their superiors. While there is a pervading sense that there is pressure coming from somewhere, as an audience we don’t see or feel it applied. In an increasingly elaborate series of dances we see the characters take on mechanical motions as a collective. Perhaps their relationships with one another could not be explored in such depth if there were other characters physically on the mix.

With minimal props, a functional home, fast-paced office and a dingy nightclub are successfully represented. An empty microwave meal container and a glass of water go a long way towards reflecting the grim reality of a situation. Nights out are common enough and as the cast clutch empty pint and wine glasses and struggle though faux-friendly chatter and pseudo-erotic dancing the cringes come hard and fast.

Thought provoking analogies like a person as the parcel in a game of pass-the-parcel, diminishing with each change of hands, keep the dialogue punchy. What’s left after all is said and done is the sense that people and relationships can interchange like new stationary in an environment where survival of the fittest is the order of the day. There’s an unshakable sense that it’s the pressure people apply on each other, rather than that exerted by those in power which pushes them to their limits.



New Diorama Theatre
15 - 16 Triton Street, London, NW1 3BF
0207 383 9034
Richard Whiteley Theatre:
3rd Feb 2015
Giggleswick School, Settle, North Yorkshire, BD24 0DE
01729 893180
Mac Birmingham:
4th Feb 2015
Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham, West Midlands B12 9QH
0121 446 3232
Cygnet Theatre:
6th Feb 2015
Friars' Gate, Exeter EX2 4AZ
01392 277189

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