Bob’s Holiday Office Party

NoHo Arts theatre review of
L-R: Peter Breitmayer. Rob Elk, Chloe Taylor, Joe Keyes, Andrea Hutchman, Judy Heneghan, Johanna McKay, Pat Towne, and Mark Fite. Photo by Marissa Drammissi.

[NoHo Arts District, CA] – A NoHo Arts theatre review of Bob’s Holiday Office Party, written by Joe Keyes and Rob Elk, running through December 18 at The Beverly Hills Playhouse. 

What could be more Christmasy than a poorly planned, wildly inappropriate and alcohol-infused party full of small-town, badly dressed pent-up locals with questionable politics and a year full of sexual longing?  In this tiny town in Iowa, Bob the insurance agent holds his annual Christmas party, only this year he plans on surprising everyone with his plans to close his business, leave town and start a new life as an inventor. He leaves behind a sordid affair with the mayors wife and a business four generations old.  This move is funded by another local, who has swooped in with his ill gotten billions to buy up Bob’s business and as much of the rest of the town he can get his hands on in a vain attempt at revenge. He was the butt of many a cruel joke as a child growing up, with a stutter and a skin condition being just a couple of his many impediments. Now ‘cured’ he thrills in his evil plans to turn what is left of this pathetic town into a Walmart like superstore, starving any local shops of business and paying only minimum wage to it’s rapidly dwindling, broke residents. 

NoHo Arts theatre review of "Bob's Holiday Office Party."
L-R: Chloe Taylor, Judy Heneghan, Pat Towne, Andrea Hutchman, Peter Breitmayer, Rob Elk, Joe Keyes and Mark Fite. Photo by Marissa Drammissi.

What could possibly go wrong?

The cast of characters in Bob’s Holiday Office Party is brilliant, richly drawn and absolutely hilarious. Twin farmer sisters, each as sticky and warped as the next. The drunkard town sheriff with a slightly demented penchant for the local floozy who frequently finds herself locked up in his cells. The mayor carrying on secretly with his young, male roommate, and aging hippy, permanently high, accident-prone and convinced the town is a hotbed of alien abduction. And Bob, sweet, slightly hapless, and yet still deeply fond of all this dysfunction. 

As the mayhem unfolds and the beer flies, secret urges are unlocked and chaos obviously ensues. But as they turn on each other in drunken stupors they are also bound together. Their small safe lives threatened by this cocky billionaire and his ancient anger.  

NoHo Arts theatre review of "Bob's Holiday Office Party."
L-R: Peter Breitmayer, Rob Elk, Joe Keyes, Judy Heneghan, Chloe Taylor, Johanna McKay, Andrea Hutchman, Pat Towne, and Mark Fite. Photo by Marissa Drammissi.

It’s Fargo meets Animal House. Funny, heartfelt and shockingly relevant and relatable. Bob’s Holiday Office Party is iconic after 25 years of performances. Indeed, there were some in the audience who have quite literally grown up coming to the show year after year. It has become a tradition, a rite of passage and a much-loved part of the Los Angeles holiday show calendar.

If you need a good laugh, one without hangups and the tinge of regret, then Bob’s Holiday Office Party is for you. It’s a classic American comedic show. Rough around the edges, a bit grotesque and not at all apologetic. It’s full of profound physical humour and is much cleverer than expected time and time again.  It celebrates those characters it sends up. It’s not cruel or mean, even though the characters could be. 

NoHo Arts theatre review of "Bob's Holiday Office Party."
L-R: Front Chloe Taylor, Rob Elk, Andrea Hutchman, Rear: Pat Towne, Johanna , Judy Heneghan, Mark Fite, Joe Keyes and Peter Breitmayer (at Door). Photo by Marissa Drammissi.

There’s a delightful realness to everyone, underneath the quirk and the weird they are all just people trying to get through their lives each day and trying to be happy. And for one night a year they all come together, get drunk, and know that they will never really be alone. It’s really very sweet in a manic, frantic, utterly hilarious way and I highly recommend it.

Team and Cast:

The show is written by Joe Keyes and Rob Elk.  Director Matt Roth’s cast will once again include Elk and Keyes and the two are joined by returning cast members Mark Fite, Judy Heneghan, Johanna McKay, Chloe Taylor (12/4 & 12/11), Peter Breitmayer (12/2-11), Andrea Hutchman, J.P. Manoux (12/16-18) Sirena Irwin, Johanna McKay & Pat Towne 


Through December 18



The Beverly Hills Playhouse. 

254 S. Robertson Blvd. Beverly Hills, CA  90212