Wed 30th July – Mon 25th August 2014


Rob Collins

at 10:24 on 9th Aug 2014



Where to start with News Revue? Given their reputation at the Fringe, my expectations were high and I’m pleased to say that they were met. As the lights went down for the start of the show a voice announced “Please note there will be no jokes about the current situation in the Middle East as we were worried they might bomb” and this set the tone for the rest of the show. Funny? Undeniably so. Tasteless? You bet.

Not for the faint of heart or easily offended, it seemed that no public figure was safe from the barbed, acerbic wit of this company. Over the course of an hour the talented cast of five took us on a lightning pace journey through the last year in news, and what an hour it was. The comedy varied from the light-hearted, tongue in cheek to the downright offensive (though never maliciously so).

Although they were performing in a venue of the size fitting to their status as Fringe veterans, the feel was unmistakably that of cabaret and so the general feeling was, well, anything goes. It is a mood that the cast exploited superbly. Anchored masterfully by ?????? on piano and employing a mixture of song and sketch, it seemed that nothing was off limits.

There were certainly moments where I found myself wondering whether it was really okay to be laughing so much. The parody of Take That’s 'Back For Good', which covered the tragic demise of flight MH370 featured the chorus “The plane is lost, the plane is lost, the plane is lost for good” complete with gloriously offensive Malaysian accents. In the hands of a less able troupe, many of these jokes would have come off as pernicious or exploitative. Yet such was the cheeky charisma present in the performances that they were easily forgiven. Other highlights include a wonderfully distasteful sketch covering the Oscar Pistorius trial and an utter deconstruction of Nick Clegg over the course of three sketches.

There were a few moments when the jokes fell flat, including an ill judged Tony Abbott sketch, but mostly the show was very accessible to anyone who has passed even a cursory glance over the year’s newspapers. Targets include Nigel Farage, Vladimir Putin, Chris Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow, Alex Salmond, Nick Clegg and David Cameron and all of these sketches have a freshness and originality about them that is often lacking from satire of this kind.

Overall then it was a brilliantly funny, if somewhat off colour show and a must see for anyone with a sense of humour and questionable moral compass.


Lucy Diver

at 11:15 on 9th Aug 2014



As the title suggests, News Revue 2014 is a sketch show satirising the current affairs of the year so far. It’s far from predictable. When they opened with, ‘We apologise for the lack of sketches about the situation in the Middle East – we thought they would bomb,’ it was clear that all lines were open for crossing.

As is common to sketch shows, they varied a great deal: in length, style and level of humour. There were definitely a few punchlines in there that I’ll be stealing to pepper my pub conversation with, though I’m loath to spoil too many. There were also a few that weren’t as funny, but not too many, and they didn't spoil the show.

I was also slightly concerned that I wouldn’t understand all of the jokes, as my knowledge of British current affairs is not exactly stellar. Indeed this was the case a few times, but because sketches are short, I wasn’t stuck in ignorance for long. Besides, you don’t have to laugh nervously and pretend in a theatre – it’s dark and no one will judge you. Furthermore, it was very much a case of ‘It’s not you, it’s me.’ If you’re really keen, I suppose you could flick through the headlines for the past few months, but it’s not really necessary.

The show also provokes questions of a deeper sort. Is it too soon for Malaysian airlines jokes? Is it too soon for Princess Diana jokes? I have been called uptight by several people over the years, and I was able to see that it was all satire. Once you walk into a theatre, all ideas of social propriety and acceptable forms of discourse fall away. Satire is supposed to be vicious and shocking. If it’s not, a satirising sketch show isn’t really doing its job.

The cast of four were incredible: talented, with great comic timing and a huge variety of parts. Will Mulvey’s Nick Clegg was a recurring role, and perhaps a stand-out of the whole show. Matt Lee-Steer’s Putin was another political highlight. Mimi Edwards and Alice Marshall proved beyond doubt that the ‘women can’t be funny’ crap is just that – crap. As far as political figures go, they did a wonderful job of Ed Miliband and Tony Abbott respectively. Credit is also due to the musical team: being the pianist for this show looks like it would be enormous fun, and the songs were fantastic. Music was the fifth cast member, without a doubt.

News Revue 2014 is a smashing show. I walked away still laughing at the jokes, and I’m still giggling to myself now, a day later. On top of that however, it’s great to see satire that really engages with the world. I’d argue that Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart are the most reliable news sources in America right now, despite being ostensibly comedians. Besides a quick flick through the BBC app on my phone, News Revue 2014 has been my dose of current affairs for the Fringe so far – and I was very happy to take that medicine.


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