Comedy Duo Cassie Symes and Georgina Thomas, better known as ‘Thick ‘n’ Fast’, talk about their Funny Women Awards nominated show ‘General Secretary’ to play at Soho Theatre

Dealing with the intricacies of running a nation asks for an adept, rigorous, tenacious skillset and mindset. A role not to be taken lightly, imagine suddenly being catapulted into this complex reality. Exploring this further in show General Secretary, comedy duo Cassie Symes and Georgina Thomas place the experiences of two inexperienced leaders as they navigate their way through this new normal for them to the fore. Initially starting life out as a short live-streamed piece last year, before being shortlisted for a Funny Women Award – the work-in-progress’ next stop sees the show performed at the Soho Rising Festival, staged at the Soho Theatre next month. Ahead of the show, Cassie and Georgina tells us more about the show’s creative process so far, what it means to have been recognised for their work by the Funny Women Awards and what we can expect from the show!

Hi Cassie and Georgina, your show General Secretary is playing as part of Soho Theatre’s Soho Rising Festival on the 1st Feb. How are you feeling?

We are so excited. When we saw our faces on the front of the theatre, we were totally cool about it; we definitely didn’t squeal and take lots of pictures with our faces next to our faces. It makes a change from only having them on Cassie’s wallpaper.

General Secretary explores the sudden power shift from state, to two insignificant individuals who now find themselves responsible for running the world. What inspired you to explore this further?

It came out of feeling powerless during lockdown and frustrated at political mismanagement. Our heroes are two of the least experienced people and (without giving too much away) they end up doing a much better job.

General Secretary was performed via livestream during the lockdown, and was due to be performed at this year’s VAULT Festival. What has the show’s journey entailed so far? What does it mean to be able to perform this at the Soho Theatre?

General Secretary began as a 15 minute live-streamed experiment this time last year, as part of a residency at Applecart Arts. Thanks to their support, we developed the piece into a full live-streamed show. Since the summer, we have been re-writing and transforming it for a live stage and after many cancelled and postponed shows, we feel finally ready to unleash it. To perform at Soho Theatre is a big deal for us; we are actually on the same night as Joe Lycett, Chris Redd from SNL and Liz Kingsman, so it’s very rare that emerging artists like us get to share a platform with such incredible performers!

You were shortlisted for the Funny Women Awards Digital Comedy category last year – how does it feel to be recognised in this way for your work?

We were thrilled to have been shortlisted for this award. Especially during a time of such uncertainty, it gave us a real confidence boost. Our sketch, Succulents, about falling in love with houseplants, is being released very soon and we can’t wait to share it. We have a few more filmed sketches coming out later this year too.
What have you learned/taken away from creating the show?
It’s a long journey and it takes a lot of patience. We were very lucky to be able to create the livestreamed version of this show first, but it accentuated how important and valuable it is to have a live audience.

With a show that’s in development, it’s tempting to keep making edits up until the last moment and we are gradually learning when to say ‘enough!’

Most crucially, we have learned that we can’t be funny without a stream of coffee, satsumas and constant validation.

What can audiences expect from the show?

Lasers, tigers and drones. (Only kidding, it’s still a preview – those will be coming later). As a work in progress, this is a very important step in the show’s development and we hope that audience’s like what they see and continue to follow it!
What would you like for audiences to take away from the show?

It’s a fun, satirical, escapist comedy. We want people to leave the Soho Theatre plotting their own world domination, thinking about what big changes they could actually make and hopefully feeling empowered to make some small ones too.

Questions by Lucy Basaba.

General Secretary will show as part of Soho Rising Festival at the Soho Theatre on Tuesday 1st February 2022. To find out more about the production, visit here…

Written by Theatrefullstop