Star rating - 5/10
Eighties power ballads greet the audience as they assemble around the sides of the Crucible's Studio Theatre for Mike Bartlett's office power play drama Bull. And into the fray of this boxing ring type arrangement, complete with harsh strip lighting and a water cooler - step the protagonists. What follows is not pretty, nor is it meant to be.
This is a short one hour drama about the harsh realities of office politics, which anyone who has ever worked in one knows can be quite vicious. The trouble is that instead of a subtly nuanced observational piece, this play takes three sledgehammers, in the shape of two colleagues and a big boss, to crack a very small nut, in this case Thomas, played by Sam Troughton. It completely over bakes the harshness and cruelty that he suffers at their hands, so that the impact is lost.
It simply isn't true to life in terms of how such an unpleasant situation would be handled, which would be much more underhand and duplicitous. The action feels relentless, cruel and somewhat pointless. In reality the sometimes toxic relationships that can develop at work are a lot greyer than this - and I am not just referring to the suits. It's a pity but this felt like an opportunity missed.