Thick’n’Fast: General Secretary Online
Following a string of highly regarded performances at the Edinburgh Fringe, satirical duo Georgina Thomas and Cassie Symes (better known as Thick’n’Fast) went on to transfer their 2019 comedy Not Quite to the Soho Theatre, and are currently holding residence at Applecart Arts, a multidisciplinary creative hub based in East London. General Secretary, premiering this month, hints at the still untapped versatility of these writers, expanding the scope of their previous work to deliver genuinely novel perspectives on the convoluted landscape of women in the workplace – and men in the workplace – and, especially, the place of work in politics (when present at all), the latter framed in comic extremity to be questioned and problematised.
The piece follows two young women feeling a little out of place in the careers they’ve fallen into, as they receive an unusual request from multilingual representatives of the United Nations, delivered (of course) via teleconferencing software. Their new roles launch them from a middle-grade corporate environment to ultimate power as leaders of the world; time lapse scenes covering the crash course they undertake in global politics, socialism, and basic geography provide some of the production’s most insightful and subtle jokes. Fast-paced, succinct, sparingly scripted, yet packed with enough half-references and implications to merit at least one re-watch, General Secretary delivers the perfect balance of the relatable (the tragic potential, the raw humanity of a request from your boss to complete more than one task at a time) and the absurd – which, here, is roughly the same sort of thing but this time with international implications.
The piece’s touch on global political movements – especially certain ongoing localised campaigns of violence – can be too light-hearted, and it can jar where victims are invoked in the same tone as the well-documented uselessness of bureaucratic figureheads. The overwhelming impression, however, is of the talent and range of these artists: the satire is familiar but novel, the physical elements of the comedy immaculately measured, and the music excessively catchy. Symes and Thomas show a huge amount of potential, and the audience looks forward both to their next stage project and, one hopes, the release of the General Secretary original soundtrack on all streaming platforms.
Photo: The Other Richard
General Secretary Online is at from 8th April until 24th April 2021. For further information or to book visit the Thick’n’Fast’s website here.