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By Mike Bartlett
Directed by Benjamin Summers
at hyde park theatre
This vicious comedy is an allegorical deathmatch between business colleagues—full of bizarre power plays and one-upmanship—wherein one of three employees is allegedly going to be fired. The odds against our protagonist are stacked from the outset: rumple-faced sad-sack Thomas never quite gets his footing against opponents Tony, a shark in wolf's clothing, and Isobel, a snaky number with a talent for undermining. In savvy fashion, Mike Bartlett's BULL caters to our baser instincts.
& Rommel Sulit
"Street Corner Arts has become a company to watch, producing many of the most important plays each year, and with Mike Bartlett's "Bull", they continue this in a very impactful way. [...] The best pieces of theatre are tools for beginning a conversation, and "Bull" creates an amazing one."
Ryan Johnson, Austin Examiner
"Nerheim's embodiment of Thomas is vivid, complex, and personal – he's not necessarily likable yet he's too vulnerable to be dismissed – but because the "bull" in this fight is about as suited to the ring as flower-sniffing Ferdinand, we know that what we're witnessing is a cold-blooded, calculated takedown – the corporate equivalent of those canned hunts where the hunters shoot exotic game enclosed in pens. It's cheerless to watch, even with the humor that Bartlett liberally seasons the script with and its deft handling by the actors and director Benjamin Summers. But perhaps that's the playwright's point. The business of business has become ugly and brutal. The corporate entitlement and aggression that we may have once thought were restricted to Enron and Wall Street have spread to office towers throughout the globe, and the beasts inside them are on the prowl. If they haven't already done so, suggests Bull, they'll soon be stalking you. Prepare to be the predator or the prey." (Entire Review)
Robert Faires, Austin Chronicle
"This work is fierce, compelling and extremely human. [...] Benjamin Summers has done a superb job directing this piece delivering a taut and riveting master class on how collusion works. [...] Three utterly fearless performances drive this production. They keep the adrenaline level high and, at the very end, take it right off the chart. As Thomas, Anders Nerheim exudes the panicky defensiveness of the born loser, making things worse for himself by always rising to the bait. Devin Finn nails the office smooth-talking alpha male Tony; that office worker who always seems, at some level, to be flirting with everyone, regardless of gender. Suzanne Balling as Isobel is absolutely chilling in her portrait of a hardened, conscienceless, systematically sadistic emasculator. Her final scene offers a look into the mindset of a bully that is astonishing in its brutality. [...] BULL is a riveting and uncomfortable examination of corporate hell that may have you questioning your reactions for days to come." (Entire Review)
Frank Benge, BroadwayWorld.com
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