How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying

Lost Boys


How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying 

Lost Boys Theatre Company

Schonell Theatre

14th – 18th November 2012


Reviewed by Matty Gharakhanian


This is a show that needs no introduction.  How to Succeed is a hilarious production that follows the journey of one man clawing his way up the corporate ladder by any means necessary.  He does this by following the rules and guidance of a book, not surprisingly, titled How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.  This book acts as a convenient and often amusing booming voice of the narrator to drive the story forward and give advice on what our young protagonist should do next.  With a ding and a cheesy grin to the audience, we know another successful scheme has been achieved.


Speaking of the protagonist, one interesting aspect about this play is that the lead character is not your typical good guy protagonist.  He’s a little sly, self-obsessed and a sycophant, often being completely oblivious to what other people think of him, including his coworkers and Rosemary, the woman with whom he is hopelessly in love.  If anything, this adds to his persona and appeal so you don’t feel any less investment in him as a character.  He’s still fascinating to watch as he reaches new moral lows while obtaining new corporate heights.


Props to Director, Joshua Correa and his team, for such appropriate casting.  Easily attracting a young membership base and a young following as well, How to Succeed follows the hugely successful Lost Boys’ production of A Very Potter Musical in February this year at Metro Arts (the sequel is scheduled for the same time next year). Of course it’s easier to cast a show with so much terrific talent around. Even the extras in How to Succeed managed to steal the show at times. To ease the flow, improvised comedic moments were effortlessly implemented when there were a couple of stage and prop malfunctions and the actors simply breezed past it without batting an eye, rather than being caught up in the moment.  Another huge nod to the actors for being in character well before the show started and while everyone was still finding their seats.  Even when the stage lights weren’t on, they didn’t go down the easy route and escape their role.


The entire cast was memorable.  Whether it was Julie Cotterell as the mean and strict but secretly vivacious Miss Jones; Christopher Batkin as Bud Frump, the bratty boss’ nephew; Dakota Striplin as J. Pierrepont Finch and Kaitlyn Rogers as Rosemary Pilkington – who was strangely reminiscent of a Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz with her wide-eyed naiveté and optimism, or Dave Waller as J.B. Biggley, the boss of the World Wide Wicket Company and his mistress, Hedy LaRue (played by Alex Valentine).  Everyone fit their roles to a T and drew some large laughs with their witty repartee and flawless timing.


How to Succeed

The songs were fun and frequent with chuckle-worthy lines and reactions from the cast members.  There was a good composition and juxtaposition of telling opposing views through the Been a Long Day song, which made an interesting storytelling device to understand the characters more while still maintaining the constant on-the-ball pace of the show.


There were a few American references that maybe not everyone immediately got or understood, but this didn’t detract from the show, and to balance it out, a few Australian references were thrown in for some extra laughs.


How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying was a fun and hilarity-packed production without a single dull moment.


Unfortunately, with such a short season, not everyone got to see this production. If you need a good laugh (and a few more) and have often wondered “how DO you succeed in business without really trying?” then this is a wonderful musical not to be missed next time. Keep an eye out for Lost Boys’ next production, A Very Potter Sequel!



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