Reviews/Comedy/Fringe World Festival/Theatre

Dispatches from the treadmill

11 February 2021

It’s a bit green, but Claire Trolio says Jungle in Here is a well-devised commentary on the tedium of office life.

Jungle in Here, Maddy Mullins and Flash Brew ·
Girls’ School, 10 February ·

The mind-numbing, soul-crushing monotony of a job you’re dispassionate about: it’s instantly recognisable, and it’s good fodder for a brisk, 45-minute Fringe show.

Directed by Rebecca Collin and written and performed by Maddy Mullins, Jungle in Here is a brand-new, one-woman show about feeling trapped in the corporate rat race. Mullins is Catherine, an aspiring news anchor waiting for her big break while sitting on the reception desk at an accounting firm.

Her bold dreams get her through the day… but what happens when that glimmer of escape is taken away? A humorous critique of the office environment becomes a sombre descent into a young woman’s despair.

Catherine’s internal monologue is delivered in the style of a news report, as she exposes her frivolous colleagues and their vacuous banter around the water cooler. It’s an effective tool, quickly allowing for character development while providing sardonic humour, though I found the acrimony slightly overdone.

When Catherine finds her office populated by a growing number of pot plants, the news report makes way for a nature documentary. A group of gossiping co-workers as a flock of birds is one tidy metaphor. As Catherine commentates her way through the dense jungle, it’s funny, familiar, a bit nutty and very engaging.

Jungle in Here feels awfully personal, so it comes as no surprise that Mullins wrote the show in response to finding herself in her own mundane desk job. Like Catherine, she is young and full of potential. Though callow, she’s a promising writer and performer who will benefit from more confidence as the season and her career unfold.

I enjoy the labyrinthine Girls’ School as a venue: winding your way upstairs sets the scene for stumbling upon something fresh and unexpected. But a loud fan to the left of the room, presumably part of the building’s air-conditioning system, was an unfortunate challenge for sound designer Sebastion Boyd and proved a distraction at times.

It’s as green as a plastic office plant, but Jungle in Here is a well-devised commentary on the spirit-breaking tedium of feeling trapped in a job you hate.

Jungle in Here continues at Cookery in Girls’ School until 14 February.

Pictured top is Maddy Mullins in ‘Jungle in Here’. Photo: Emily Bell

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Author —
Claire Trolio

Claire Trolio completed a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) and a Bachelor of Laws (Hons) at UWA. She writes about Western Australia for various digital and print media and owns a shop with her sister. For her, the spider swing is the ultimate in playground fun.

Past Articles

  • Gentle touch guides lunar landing 

    Balancing weight with whimsy, this children’s theatre work strikes the right chord for its target audience, writes Claire Trolio.

  • Next-gen theatre makers impress

    From the fresh and funny to the weird and wonderful, WAAPA’s Performance Making students bring fresh, incisive work at full tilt, writes Claire Trolio.

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