Adelaide Fringe 2014
Morgan and Tom, two office workers who do a seemingly pointless task day after day, break up the dull monotony with humourous activities and feats of acrobatic skill.
In a nasty, tacky looking office, two serfs, Morgan and Tom, meaninglessly type away at computers. At random intervals, they’re told to shut off a red button before time runs out. They don’t know why they have to turn off the button, what the button does, and more importantly, what would happen if they didn’t turn off the button.
And so begins Avan Whaite’s odd but lovely little comedy. What could have been quite morose material in a philisophical sense instead became a quirky circus act. Like most comedy duos, there’s the anxious straight man (Tom) and the happy weirdo (Morgan). One of the best aspects of the show is that it was tailormade to showcase the performers’ individual talents. Tom is the more physically acrobatic of the two – he scurries up the pole to turn off the button, and in a mesmerizing midway act, he performs corde lisse on a rope hanging down from the tent rooftop.
Morgan, meanwhile, is more the clown, the mime. There were gales of laughter as he acted out a love story with his pot plant, and he mined even more laughter just with a rubber chicken and an egg. Speaking of eggs, when he balanced not one, not two, but three eggs on the bridge of his nose, held up by what looked to be a chopstick, it was probably the most crowd-pleasing act of the evening.
The play incorporated simple props and the story itself was quite minimal, however it was elevated by the duo’s comedic talents. Even something as simple as who could do the most extravagant yawn become entertaining. A tale of two bored office workers amusing themselves with tomfoolery to stave off the idea that their work (and by extension, lives) were pointless sounds depressing when written on the page – and the play has flashes of melancholy, I’ll grant you – but it turned out to be absurdly funny when executed. The actors were quite polished on their opening night, and the music, lighting, etc. all went off without a hitch. When the duo chose an audience member to interact with it was cute rather than cringeworthy, and whilst the second to last act dragged a bit, the twist at the ending was rather satisfactory.
The only problem was with the tent. Whilst the tent seemed tailor-made for the act, for the audience, if you were seated too far to the left it was hard to see what was going on. The audience and the actors were soon sweltering under the lights, and worst of all, music could be clearly heard, playing outside the tent. For a play that relied upon moments of silent comedy, it was quite distracting.
But in all, it was a fantastic piece of physical theatre. Hats off to the director, performers and crew.