Glide Time: Review
It’s amazing how much energy goes into not working.
June 15, 2006, source: viewauckland.co.nz
By Sara Hewitson Just look at the Stores Department behind door number 133 in Roger Hall’s Glide Time.
Two hundred filing drawers, half a dozen people and piles of paperwork fill that room. They’ve got idleness and inefficiency down pat:
You have to get a form to order a form to order a calculator that’ll take months to arrive (and cost more than retail) in a department that thrives on moving real work aside to make way for blether, bungling and boredom.
Yes, the seventies government office is alive and kicking in Glide Time; its actors bringing this apathetic culture back to life with such accuracy, that the audience likely looked at each character and thought, “hell, didn’t I work with you at the stats department … or ag and fish maybe?”
A motley crew of Wellingtonians, Glide Time’s staff includes John (Craig Parker), a slicked-down cocky paper-shuffler with a penchant for one-liners; and Jim (Greg Johnson), the disgruntled order taker who’s been a part of the furniture in this place for far too long.
Hugh (Simon Prast) is the Welshman trying to become a Kiwi in the face of family adversity and jingoistic ribbing; Michael (David Van Horn), the naïve new-comer; and Beryl (Theresa Healey), the pudding-shaped spinster with a secret lunchtime interest.
And, we can’t forget Wally’s (Colin Moy) getup or the all-too-real Boss-man’s (Stuart Devenie) classic speech.
These public servants take the mickey out of the capital’s windy weather—“three houses on the hill that weren’t there last night”; fat women—“Beryl, pull up a couple of chairs and sit down”; and political correctness drops to ‘70s levels—“so brown and fat, immigration would only give him a three month work permit.”
But through all the laughter—and Glide Time deservedly gets its fair whack—the vulnerable side of these individuals is exposed. We see people trying to form the semblance of an identity in a stifling environment fed by inane systems and personal anonymity.
Love, loss, hope and naivety and all make an appearance in this brilliant performance. So does polyester, walk socks and brylcreem.
Glide Time may have made its NZ debut in 1976, but thirty years on, its still in tip-top shape.
You can thank these outstanding actors for that … and the director, Oliver Driver. Thumbs up to the set designer, John Verryt and costume designer, Rachael Walker—we bet you both had a ball setting the scene for this show (in-between tea breaks that is).