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MyFirstTrainers.com, Tristan Bates Theatre

Jonathan Lewis
Presented by Act Naturally

Pros: An entertaining concept. Witty and satirical throughout. Office workers around the country will be reminded of their own training day experiences, with their countless buzz words and instantly forgettable mnemonics.
Cons: The show’s appeal is likely to be limited, being aimed at a specific corporate audience. In saying that, this demographic covers a fairly sizable portion of the population.
Our Verdict: A fun-filled hour if you have ever experienced the corporate office environment!
Courtesy of the Tristan Bates Theatre
The first thing to say is that MyFirstTrainers.com is not a play in the traditional sense, but a comic parody of a corporate training event. You – the audience – are the delegates. On this occasion though, you are attending the “show” by choice, instead of being “volunteered” for it by your boss. The two training guides for the hour long show are Clive Spongee, played by Jonathan Lewis and Joleon Joyce, played by Simon de Cintra. Both actors successfully manage to nail down and project the enthusiastic/annoying traits that are more often than not found in corporate trainers and Human Resources personnel.
The modest sized stage at the Tristan Bates becomes the training guides’ platform for the evening. The two guides present from their individual picnic tables throughout the show, which are set up at opposite ends of the stage. The tables and surrounding floor space are chaotically covered with scribbled notes and “valuable” training aids such as hula hoops, brightly coloured running trainers and cake tins(!). A large video screen, used to project training slides and pre-recorded video messages, adorns the rear wall.
Throughout the show there is an ingenious use of overdubbed video messages, by celebrities such as Al Pacino and Prince Charles. This reinforces the guides’ positive messages and their “Seven Stages of Can Do”, which is their unique training concept. There are also some fake experts and pioneers of positive thinking thrown into the mix. All these characters are played by de Cintra and Lewis. Disco lighting and thumping Rocky inspired music is also cleverly used, with even a little sing-along at the end of the show.
Be warned, there is a small amount of audience participation required; but don’t worry if you usually take fright at this sort of thing. It really is harmless and pretty comical. Remember this is not a play. A run time of one hour is just enough. Any more and the joke would wear thin. The play is cleverly constructed and both actors do carry off the parody convincingly. That being said it is probably best enjoyed with your work colleagues sitting alongside you!
Please feel free to leave your thoughts and opinions in the comments section below!

MyFirstTrainers.com runs at the Tristan Bates Theatre until 27th February 2013.
Box Office: 020 7240 6283 or book online at http://www.tristanbatestheatre.co.uk

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