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The Wacky Black Dossier

A passing familiarity with the conspiracy theories of The X-Files isn’t essential. Just bring an open mind to this latest Edge Improv show, taking place for four nights only at UQ’s St Lucia Campus. Certainly a lecture with a difference.

Founded in 2001, Edge Improv has an established reputation for providing entertaining improvisational theatre (we loved their 2018 A Midsummer Night’s Whatever). The latest addition to the Edge Improv portfolio, The Black Dossier, has four performances scheduled for the 2021 Anywhere Festival.

UQ’s St Lucia Campus Social Sciences Building Lecture Theatre is the perfect location for an ‘FBI’-sponsored lecture. ‘Scully’ (Emily) introduces conspiracy theorist Sir Walter Von  Troutmeister (Brad Daniels) to the lectern, and over the next 45 minutes, Troutmeister fills his cork board with cards supplied by members of the audience.  At the 13th May premiere, we discovered the increasingly tenuous links between everything from pets to hobbies and places—learning that Egypt does not exist, Hungry Jacks is a French conspiracy, and…

Of course, as this is improv, each show is unique. You’d have to sign up for future lectures to see quite how Daniels manages to respond to the suggestions on your cards.

Although this is promoted as a one-person improv, it is of course a team effort. In addition to the introduction from Emily, Tim—at the google ‘controls’—provided some great visual input to the evening (I loved the Cornwall moment), and Tay managed the streaming service for the show.

The Black Dossier is a great idea, and is good value at only $18 (including a UQ Life snack bag). There were certainly some funny moments—from the almost corpsing response to the ‘corn-wall’ image, through to the Egyptian-UK threads (and of course ‘that’ elevated departure from the room). But, for me, the premiere performance didn’t quite hit the mark. Go along and see what you think?

Verdict: A great idea, in the perfect setting.

Audience tip: Four 7pm performances during the 2021 Anywhere Festival (13, 14, 20 & 21 May). For tickets and further information, visit the Anywhere Festival website. 50 minutes. Social Sciences Building, UQ St Lucia Campus. Tickets $18 (including a UQ Life snack bag). 15+   

Catherine Lawrence

The reviewer attended the Thursday 13th May 2021 (7pm) performance.