NewsRevue 2017

Wed 2nd – Mon 28th August 2017

reviews

Charlotte Lock

at 10:00 on 5th Aug 2017

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The cast of NewsRevue are genuinely astonishing. Their immense talent and comic timing is unparalleled, seen in the jam-packed theatre and the raucous laughter constantly emanating from the audience - make sure to get there early to secure the best seats!

This theatre company have been performing since 1979, yet the events of this past year have offered some of the best material yet, leading to new comic highs, all intensified through musical numbers. The juxtaposition of the pertinent issue of Scotland leaving the UK and music from Grease was unexpected to say the least, but as May and Sturgeon were transformed into amusing caricatures, or perhaps even entirely new characters, a ‘Shoobop sha wadda wadda yippity boom de boom’ suddenly seemed to perfectly fit. A mix of Bowie, S Club 7, The Pussycat Dolls, Jesus Christ Superstar, Miley Cyrus and Fields of Gold (you guessed it – in relation to Teresa May) provided an unusual background to a comedic take on the issues of this year, notably Brexit and Trump’s presidency, and issues of British politics and fake news. The topical material was one of the most enjoyable aspects of the production, with issues surrounding the BBC gender pay gap and transgender service people in the armed forces cropping up, making this show a particularly relevant production. Ultimately, this is a production for those up-to-date with current affairs, and if you’re not, perhaps read up before the show!

The show does not, however, require an enormous cast, decadent costumes nor extravagant set design. It consists of just four actors and features a relatively empty stage, save for a piano and four chairs, and token costume pieces to make the actors recognisable as key political figures. Each performs to an excellent standard, with outstanding harmonies and choreography throughout.

This production will undoubtedly keep you on your toes, with innumerable puns and political references which will go over your head should you lose focus for a mere second. The fast pace of NewsRevue is incredible, with a sketch-like structure, each short scene ends with a sharp turn of the switch, leaving the expectant audience waiting. The use of the black stage with just a pianist in the centre playing in the interlude and the occasional overhead commentary with witty headlines was particularly effective. The snappy tempo is essential, and what seems to be simple stage lighting is truly effective. This production allows the audience to forget about logistics and just enjoy the show, with the entire performance coming together as a cohesive, hilarious and unique piece of work.

After all, following this tumultuous year, what is there left to say but a casual and amused ‘Wop baba lumop a wap bam boom’?

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Kathryn Tann

at 10:06 on 5th Aug 2017

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Once again, it is far from surprising that 'NewsRevue' brings the Fringe its longest running comedy show of all time. The political events of this past year, though worrying in their magnitude, have at least provided the ever-talented 'NewsRevue' with an unprecedented amount of material. Each blackout had the bulging audience quietly clamouring to know who would be the next victim of this wonderfully current production.

It would be pointless to isolate an outstanding moment of this show. Whether it be a song or sketch, every scene matched the last in its comedy and energy, resulting in almost no weak points nor any lost momentum. The same can be said for the fantastic cast, none of which could be singled out, and for the same reason. All four players were able to sing, act and transition faultlessly, not to mention the varied accents they flitted between with seeming effortlessness.

It was this effortlessness which allowed the political comedy of 'NewsRevue' to shine. The audience felt at ease knowing that no technical mishaps, off-notes or shoddy line deliveries would deter from the impressively relevant and witty script. Clear voices crucially made sure not a single joke was lost to poor diction. Nor were they lost to any technical hiccups. A combined achievement between cast and crew which enabled such a slick performance, the sound and lighting being seamless throughout.

Another member who should be massively congratulated (and admired for his sheer endurance) is the pianist. The polished vocals for each song were accompanied by only one on-stage piano, which proved more than enough. Musical Director Tom Barnes (who we assume is the pianist, though the programme doesn’t explicitly say) did a sterling job of acting whilst playing as well as leading scene changes with cleverly chosen transition music. To be sat centre stage for an entire show requires the ability to strike a balance between being part of the action onstage, and not being a distraction from it – a balance which was undoubtedly found!

Finally, none of the songs would have had quite the same effect had they not been propelled along by Alyssa Noble‘s brilliant choreography. Well thought-out dance moves were not merely adding physicality to the performance, but formed many of the most popular moments, made more popular by the cast’s impressive precision.

It was the unceasing energy and sheer commitment to character and farce which made the 'NewsRevue' as strong as it was, with the audience willing their favourite impersonations (one certainly being Teresa May) to reappear. The 'NewsRevue' stuffs a year of political disappointment into an hour of complete hilarity, topped off with a hearty (though sometimes risky) disregard for causing offence. I doubt many other shows could quite so artfully combine Isis and S Club.

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