‘A Very Important Meeting’ was eccentric.
Big Fork Theatre reach out, circle back, and touch base with audiences for an office themed improv caper.
As part of Anywhere Festival, this hour-long improvised show makes the leather chair, wood-panelled University of Queensland Senate Room its home, in line with the festival’s concept of ‘anywhere but a theatre’.
Ushered into the corporate and formal room by improvisers in business attire, audiences take a seat in the gallery circling the central meeting table, or, for the game, a seat at the table itself. After taking suggestions for acronyms to untangle and business ideas to explore, Big Fork Theatre’s corporate team began their very important meeting.
The characters created by the performers were an array of overly ambitious, incompetent or bullying office archetypes, made absurd by their ludicrous agenda items and business ideas. Driven by audience suggestions fed into a powerpoint presentation, the meeting digressed into various wild directions, given continuity by periodic returns to the office staple of picking on the IT guy.
The company name and mission for the Saturday night show was ‘Blue Sky-drinking for the over 60s’. From here, the ensemble managed to reach discussions on a canine street gang taking over the office (the bow-wows), an alarming disappearance rate of staff into the basement, and a proposed baby crocodile in moat wi-fi system.
Committing to one improvised situation for an hour offers its challenges, and the performers did well to switch it up and move on when a conversation or topic lost momentum. Building running jokes into the show offered a chance for the performers to show their skill and work together to guide conversation.
Director and creator of ‘A Very Important Meeting’, Liz Talbot also performed in the show, and was confident and sharp as the overly ambitious ‘2IC’. Adam O’Sullivan was comically cowed as the besieged head of IT, while Chloe Crichton struck the right tone between intimidating and ridiculous as the boss. Garth Remington’s creepy presentation on his hobbies was enjoyably bizarre, while Mark Grimes was quick and incisive as the cynical head of sales. Louisa Jones brought a more likable character and her own great moments in short presentations or in conversation.
The inclusion of three audience members on the main table offered another chance to break up scenes and find new directions, as they were called upon to contribute their own choice of office jargon at random intervals.
The talented cast of Big Fork Theatre’s ‘A Very Important Meeting’ work well in this tougher type of improvised comedy, prompting the desired groans and laughter from the invested audience in this impromptu corporate parody. Don’t be late!
‘A Very Important Meeting’ ran for one weekend only at The University of Queensland for Anywhere Festival. For more information and upcoming productions visit the Big Fork Theatre website.