NewsRevue

Wed 5th – Mon 31st August 2015

reviews

Julia Pritchard

at 00:39 on 9th Aug 2015

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It is no wonder that this is NewsRevue’s 36th year at the Fringe.

To the numerous writers behind the production: bravo. The piece, formed of heaps of songs and sketches that ridicule the latest headlines, celebrity gossip and political events, was like nothing I’d seen before; original, witty and downright hilarious.

Some were only seconds long, for example a sketch that depicted drunk, racist Crystal Palace fans being declared as a UKIP party broadcast, whilst others took the shape of full-on songs, the main one sticking out in my memory being a man in Nicola Sturgen drag singing of her desires for world domination to the tune of The Little Mermaid. I think these two examples, better than anything, sum up what NewsRevue is all about.

The mixture of high profile and everyday spoofs is what enhances the comic success of the show, despite containing a few one-liners that were a bit close to the bone (although, they still had me laughing). The audience has to opportunity to mock celebrity and political figures, from Jeremy Kyle to a snooty and precious Duchess of Cambridge. Then, minutes later, they can laugh at the world they all live in themselves, notable examples of this being a sketch ridiculing housing prices in London and a musical number crooning the beauty of Netflix, both proving equal hits with the audience. It is this combination of ridicule and acceptance that keeps the audience engaged and makes the show so endearing and entertaining.

The four actors completely dominate the stage with their sharp humour and genuine dramatic talent, moving seamlessly between skits, characters and far too many accents to count. One of the male actors, Kieran Mortell stood out in particular. He had me in stitches with his uncanny Andy Murray drawl and spot-on portrayal of Margaret Thatcher complete with bucked teeth and husky voice.

All four are strong singers, belting out all sorts of satirical numbers which were consistently met with raucous laughter: from one harmonising tune about gay marriage to a more culturally tongue-in-cheek adaptation of the Stealers Wheel classic (‘Chavs to the left of me, coke heads to the right, here I am, stuck in a Lidl with you’). Each actor performed each act welly, without which the show would have been nowhere near as successful.

I did have a feeling from the start that NewsRevue would be a goodun', considering the venue was absolutely jam-packed and buzzing before the show even began. And sure enough, it did not disappoint.

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Flo Layer

at 09:05 on 9th Aug 2015

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NewsRevue takes current affairs and rehashes them into sprightly musical numbers, dripping with satire and performed to the latest hits from the likes of Miley Cyrus and Jessie J.

This daring musical comedy sketch show exploits the stereotype, pushes caricatures of the wealthy, famous and ridiculous to the max, and dissolves the boundaries of propriety beyond recognition. If you’re easily offended perhaps this isn’t the show for you, but the incredibly talented, all-singing, all-dancing and all-insulting cast kept the huge audience in Pleasance Courtyard in stitches throughout.

With a quick wig-change, and dramatic adjustment to accent or posture, each member of the four-strong cast succeeded in transforming from one famous figure to the next. Their ability to snap from one character, costume and accent at breakneck speed was superb. And of course, their singing was absolutely spot on. Whether it was a cow-girl parody of The Zuton’s ‘Valerie’, performed by a smarmy Hilary Clinton or a hilarious ‘austerity’ rendition of ‘Stuck in a Lidl with you’, each musical number was superbly polished and delivered in a belting West-end style.

It was perhaps the show’s political focus that was often the most successful. Ideas ranged from a brilliantly funny caricature of the immigrant-hating Nigel Farage, to the love torn break-up of a simpering Clegg and cruel Cameron at the end of the coalition. Yet it was the wig-wearing of Nicola Sturgeon, taking to the stage to belt a song about SNP world domination (to the tune of ‘Part of Your World’ from Disney’s Little Mermaid), that brought the Edinburgh audience to its knees.

Yet it is inevitable that in the fast turnover of sketch after sketch, the show produced some pieces that felt noticeably weaker than the others. The repeated caricature of the Royal family often felt a little predictable; a plummy Queen Elizabeth accompanied by a brash and horribly racist Prince Phillip is fairly old comic formula, and has been so used and abused by various impression-based comics that it now has little effect. The unlikely and absurdly funny appearance of ‘Liz’ and ‘Phil’ on the Jeremy Kyle show was so loosely based on recent news that it felt more like contrived filler in an otherwise cleverly composed repertoire.

Some jokes also wobbled precariously between the bitingly satirical and the downright unacceptable. There was an audible intake of breath and the odd boo in response to a couple of sketches. Yet you have to ask the question; in a show that revels in the non-PC and excruciatingly sharp edged satire, how long do you have to wait until a joke about losing limbs at Alton Towers becomes acceptable?

NewsRevue is an incredible musical sketch comedy, bitingly satirical and a fairly safe bet if you’re looking for an hour of hilarity.

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