Have you checked your spam folder recently? It might be worth a little look, just in case you have missed anything. No, not the one about a missing parcel or a Nigerian Prince, not the one about your webcam being hacked, the one below it, yes, that one right there. That one isn’t spam, that’s real. Yes, The United Nations have just made you world leader, you should probably read that one.
Congratulations, you – yes YOU, are now in charge of the world, world leader (pretend)! Your word is law, what do you do now? Tax the rich, nuclear disarmament, world peace? What’s next? Will you make the most of freedom and pleasure, will you sit at a table and make war on yourself?
Thick ‘n’ Fast’s General Secretary presents Cassie (Cassie Symes) and Georgie (Georgina Thomas), two young inexperienced women who have been chosen by the powers that be to rule the world. Symes and Thomas play a range of characters; parodies of BBC newsreaders, the shadowy men who are really in charge (or at least think they are in charge) of the world, in a series of vignettes as they take power and the resulting reactions with a lot of screwball comedy. Taxing the rich is good and an immediate suggestion… but hang on… are they now rich? Hmm, maybe that one should go back into the ideas pile.
General Secretary is fast-paced with quickfire jokes coming at every turn, along with plenty more hidden away in the multimedia aspects. The tone is set as we enter to see a slide deck declaring it an ‘Assembly-Cum-Party’. It’s funny in a way how subjective comedy can be. Returning to one theme of Georgie mixing up horrible people from history and singing their praises is hilarious but returning to the same gag in a good news piece at the end of each news broadcast gets old rather quickly.
A lot of the humour feels slightly too much low-hanging fruit. Yes there are a lot of laughs but a little more bite and satire would be appreciated. The show feels at its best when it grounds the premise a little more – touching on gender pay gaps, Just Stop Oil and taxing the rich, and in the suggested, but then unexplored, themes of power leading to corruption and naked self-interest.
The finale comes slightly out of nowhere, but the General Secretaries‘ ridiculous solution for world peace is a real high note to end on. It is undeniably funny, filled with particularly sharp writing and rhyming lyrics. The audience certainly leave with smiles on their faces and I won’t have been the only one left pondering what I’d do if I ruled the world…
Written and produced by: Cassie Symes and Georgina Thomas
Created in association with Applecart Arts
General Secretary plays as part of VAULT Festival 2023 until 9 February.