All Boxed Up, Waterloo East Theatre/Vault Festival – Review


Big Tony was a legend in the advertising game. At his peak his campaigns were seen by millions around the world. Alas, he has shuffled off this mortal coil, but he will never be forgotten… So begins All Boxed Up, a wry look at the advertising icons of yesteryear.

Written by Sammy Kissin and directed by David Kirkbride, All Boxed Up is a deceptively clever and amusing take on advertising’s place in popular culture. Robin Steegman stars in this one-woman show and even though she plays Tony’s former ‘partner’ and widow, she is very much her own person as she casts a critical eye on the world of ‘spin’ and consumer goods.

Robin Steegman

Not so much Mad Men as ‘The Secret Lives Of…’, All Boxed Up is both familiar and revelatory, with Steegman taking a surreal premise and lending it a degree of versimilitude. Imagine if you will icons such as the PG Tips chimps, the Smash Martians or the Milk Tray man… Now imagine what they ‘really’ get up to once the cameras stop rolling… While not exactly like this, All Boxed Up offers an ‘insider’s perspective’ on the golden age of advertising.

Because Steegman’s character is so ‘matter of fact’ about most things, references that are very funny or worthy of note are not ‘telegraphed’ but subtly referred to. Steegman herself is personable and engaging, though as ‘the widow’ she displays an occasional mischievous side too.

Like all history, advertising in All Boxed Up is evaluated by the criteria of the past, as well as the values of today. The show makes some interesting observations, though like the best advertising, they are subliminally made. Wrapped up in humour and wit, All Boxed Up gets its points across in an entertaining fashion.

© Michael Davis 2018


All Boxed Up runs at Waterloo East Theatre as part of the Vault Festival until 18th March.

Saturday 17 March (15:00) Matinee
Saturday 17 March (18:05)
Sunday 18 March (18:05) Included in 2 for 1 Offer

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