Left – Will Groucutt, Emmet Nichols, Casey Edwards, Charles McComb and Phoebe Jackson. Photo – Michael McAllan
One of the most recognisable situations for the average theatre goer has got to be office politics. At some stage or another we have all worked with someone we disliked, or perhaps had a crush on. Then, there is the occasional swing between a “gropey” boss and one who takes political correctness to the extreme. The setting is fuel for controversy and chaos, and when forming the basis of a musical, it’s also comedy gold.
The Subiaco Arts Centre recently hosted Blak Yak’s production of the musical Funny Business which placed 5 stereotypical office workers in a team building situation to save their jobs. This character driven piece showed alliances form, only to be demolished when coercing and conniving took centre stage.
The five person cast was a small ensemble for a musical, but with each performer very competently holding their own harmony line, they made the challenging music seem quite simple. Musical Director Matt Austin on keyboard played the character of Felix (from the accounting department I believe) and was the only musical backing, but all that was required for the pop score.
Marcus, the smooth talking sales rep played by Chuck McComb joined forces with Diane (Casey Edwards), the “cold as ice” marketing manager. Whether they were fighting or sneaking into the stationery closet, the relationship between the pair was passionate and amusing.
Pint sized Phoebe Jackson with a cute little bow in her mass of red curls, well suited the role of Brie, perky manager of first impressions (receptionist) one minute and scorned schemer the next. Her relationship with Jack (William Groucutt), the awkward but frightfully intelligent intern was filled with the clichés and frustrations of innocent affection.
Hovering about was Stuart (Emmet Nichols), the lovable office manager, doing his best to build a shaky bridge between maintaining his team’s morale and towing the company line.
Scenery and props were sparse aside from 2 flat screen TVs that were used to display charts and graphs, they were also used to show CCTV footage of "live" action that was taking place out in the foyer.
There was nothing groundbreaking about the predictable storyline and there were some “in” jokes that would have worked better in North America, for example an entire song poking fun at Toronto. What made Funny Business great was the dynamic that the majority of the audience could relate to, and the conviction of character shown by all performers.
Blak Yak Theatre presents
Funny Business the Musical
Book Rachel Brittain and Daniel Falk | Music and lyrics Daniel Abrahamson
Director Lorna Mackie
Venue: Subiaco Arts Centre
Dates: July 7, 8, 9, 13, 14, 15, 16, 2011
Tickets: $26.00 | $18.50
Bookings: BOCS Ticketing | (08) 9484 1133