When the working day is done....

Working, Appeal Theatre Group, New Wolsey Theatre, until Saturday.ON the whole, we all do it.We get up when we don't want to, go somewhere we'd rather not be, and spend our days doing a job we'd probably rather not do.

Working, Appeal Theatre Group, New Wolsey Theatre, until Saturday.

ON the whole, we all do it.

We get up when we don't want to, go somewhere we'd rather not be, and spend our days doing a job we'd probably rather not do.

It's life - it's working.

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This is the premise behind Stephen Schwartz's musical Working, currently being given an outing by Ipswich's Appeal Theatre Group.

Based on a book of the same name, the show tells the real-life stories of people in a range of jobs, from a waitress to an iron worker, a teacher to a fireman and a housewife to a stone-mason. Letting the characters tell their own stories, the musical uses them to reveal that all jobs, whatever they may appear on the outside, bring similar challenges, rewards and frustrations, leaving us all asking the same questions about what else might, or could, have been.

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With no plot as such to link the stories together, the show is instead a series of short monologues and songs.

With the full cast on stage throughout, Working lets the focus easily move from one character to another, helping to create a link between them, whilst keeping their stories unique.

Director Jo Whelton has ensured the performance makes good use of the New Wolsey stage and is visually impressive.

At times, it lacks pace and needs an injection of energy to lift a weary audience from their own work-day doldrums.

Throughout, there are sudden changes in sound from the moments when characters were speaking, and relying on their own ability to project, and the microphone-assisted songs which was, for my ears, somewhat jarring and broke the flow.

However, it was during these songs that the show really came alive and brought numerous stand-out performances.

In particular, Mike Wren gave that much needed energy playing a parking attendant, Duncan Broatch shone as a proud iron worker, Sally Scurrell taught us all a thing or two about waitressing and spirited performing, while Jane Robinson's turn as a housewife was sung with feeling, talent and a reminder that you don't need a job title to be a worker.

Other notable performances came from local amateur dramatics veteran Peter Philips, Ryan Fenton, who played his trucker with real soul, a talented Helen Waller as a cleaner with dreams and Appeal newcomers Helen Wheatley and Lisa Whiting.

The few ensemble pieces brought the company together to perform with strength and gave everyone the chance to prove just how hard they had all worked to make Working a show that, well, works.

Helen Johns

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