ABC public sector-set farce no utopian vision of satire


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Is working in the public sector funny? Perhaps it is if you work at the National Building Authority, a fictional agency from new ABC TV satire Utopia. Does it cut to the bone?

You’re the boss of a major federal government agency. Do you hang up on a minister? Do you get locked in endless meetings about changing the department’s logo? And why aren’t you wearing a tie?

Welcome to the National Building Authority, an agency that sounds real in name if not in practice. It’s an invention of veteran funny-people troupe Working Dog, whose public sector-set farce Utopia premiered on the ABC last night.

Tony, played by writer/director Rob Sitch, is the straight-man boss surrounded by incompetency. With a development derailed and the media on their backs, tradies shut down the floor to paint a new logo — which looks suspiciously like a famed Pink Floyd album.

It raises some chuckles. But, like Working Dog’s celebrated newsroom satire Frontline and (less successful) political saga The Hollowmen, does it cut anywhere near the bone?

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