Photo by Zaina Ahmed
I’ll be honest: I still have no idea exactly what The Rise and Fall of Bliss Industries was really about – but I still loved every minute of it. This year’s Commerce Revue was no doubt a tour-de-force of fun, farts and farce , offering a bewildering glimpse into a utopian dream-factory toppled by a charismatic yet maniacal CEO with a narcotics problem. Directors Georgia Britt and Jack Savage expertly interweaved surrealist humour with crowd-pleasing slapstick, the result of which was a corporate team building exercise-cum musical spectacular to rival all Commerce Revues of years past.
Walking into the Everest theatre was a thrilling transportation: interns, executives and clip-boarded miscellaneous office-dwellers were rushing up and down the stage, often descending into the seats below and networking with audience members. Memorable interactions included Jared Choong’s role as the jilted ‘Hermit Crab Welfare Officer’, insisting he be referred to as the ‘Beast Master’.
The opening number of the show was packed with enthusiasm and razzle-dazzle, and Sasha Meaney set the bar with her gruff and madcap performance as the CEO of Bliss Industries. Although the routine could have been made even more enjoyable with a little bit more vocal articulation, Lillian Shaddick’s choreography was flawless, and the cast’s execution of it was an incredible sight to behold.
Standout performances throughout the show certainly go to Tom Waddell’s Eddy Maguire in the most twisted episode of Who Wants to be a Millionaire ever to have graced the stage, and Dominic Scarf’s distinct aversion to dinner party politics. Alexandra Mildenhall and Emma Wiltshire are also deserving of special mentions in their sparkling depictions of the gritty struggle between lemon and lime, only to be resolved with an all-in orgy with bitters.
Although there were a few technical mishaps during the show, the laissez-faire reaction of the cast made these slip-ups almost as funny as the sketches themselves, and this good-humored sentiment often carried the show along, reminding the audience that the greatest pleasure was watching the unremitting delight spouting from the stage and every member of the cast.
The closing number of the revue was undoubtedly a highlight, featuring Emily Boyd’s incredibly impressive dusky alto tones setting the mood for an ode to money, as the cast joined in for one final exquisitely choreographed performance.
The Rise and Fall of Bliss Industries was a whirlwind of comedic confusion, at times effervescent and blindingly colourful, and at others, sharply witty and bitingly satirical No matter your current financial situation, I highly recommend you invest in this year’s Commerce Revue.
Read another review of this show here.