Victorian independent theatre company Social Club Productions returns to the Adelaide Fringe for the fourth time with a new show. This year’s work (written by Kieran Bullock and Jack Richardson) is an homage to all things Bond – the ultimate secret agent.

Instead of exotic locales, however, Station J – An MI6 Comedy, a high-energy romp through the world of international espionage, places the action firmly amid humdrum workplace politics.

We’re in Kingston, Jamaica. It’s 1962. The location is Station J: a run-of-the mill office space functioning as an outpost of the British Secret Service disguised as an import–export business. A new radio transceiver is malfunctioning and causing major interruptions to incoming messages.

Chief officer Charles (James Rosier) is worried he’ll miss hearing the cricket scores, while comms officer Terrance (Sam Brown) fiddles about forlornly (he’s supposed to be fixing the radio but he’s miserable following a date that didn’t live up to expectations). Time for a cup of tea, surely? Margaret (Annabel Green), the junior field officer, is dispatched on what is the first of many trips to the kitchen. She’s not impressed. It’s a waste of her skills, but (at this stage) she’s the only one who knows this. Margaret has high hopes for a career but knows she’s up against “lanky, damp young Cambridge boys” at every step.

The morning is thrown into further disarray after the arrival of a top-secret encoded missive and several unexpected visitors. Before long, chaos ensues. Who are Steven Bound (Fi Parrey) and Admiral Planchett (Kieran Bullock), and what’s their agenda?

There are references to Russians, Cuban missiles and a one-eyed Polish pierogi seller. The harbour’s full of warships, and a diabolical threat against civilisation must be stopped, but who’s the best man (or woman) for the job? Codes are cracked, accusations fly and, yes, much more tea is consumed.

It’s all great fun with plenty of chuckles throughout and some laugh-out-loud moments, and it works even if you’re not familiar with the James Bond books or movies. Dialling the rapid-fire delivery down a bit would let us catch all the clever lines (although not a major issue, it was sometimes difficult to keep up with the speed of the speech and a couple of the upper-crust accents).

Station J – An MI6 Comedy is a satisfying hour of silliness with great performances and plenty to like.

Station J – An MI6 Comedy is showing at The Arch at Holden Street Theatres until March 10.

Read more 2024 Adelaide Fringe coverage here on InReview.

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