In comedy, they say that timing is everything. Unfortunately, Arts students aren’t known to have the best sense of time (management). I turned up to the final night of the Arts Revue with rock-bottom expectations, regretting that I hadn’t had a few drinks beforehand to ease the tension. Luckily for this sober reviewer, the production by the so-called “laziest students on campus” was somewhat of a surprise. With a cast made up of several SUDS members, the majority of the skits struck the perfect balance between squeamishly awkward and gaspingly hilarious.
Disappointingly, the sketches met with the biggest laughs of the night were bordering on crass. While hilarity can indeed be found in a fart joke, laughing at the sound of flatulence for over two minutes seemed a tad too juvenile. Given the nature of the beast (and skit comedy in general), it is perhaps incredibly naïve for the audience to expect overly intelligent humour from a revue. Nevertheless, several scenes managed to pair crudeness with wit, including a sequined Hannibal Lecter crooning about his favourite hobby to the tune of Mambo Number 5, and a video sketch involving the untimely microwave ending of the protagonist of “Pop Goes the Weasel”.
Speaking of video segments, the directors’ (Jack Gow and Cihan Saral) idea of incorporating short pre-filmed scenes into the stage production was a veritable success, breaking up the often long-winded on-stage work and allowing for more believable sets and props. Other than these segments, the timing of the longer sketches was hit and miss. A scene involving Fantails and the Last Supper dragged on for an eternity, culminating in an all-too predictable punch line; but on the other hand, watching a man with obscenely long fingernails perform daily tasks for several minutes was cringingly brilliant.
On the whole, the Arts Revue showcased some exceptional USYD acting talent, with the sketches being met with more authentic laughter than uncomfortable silence. However, social lubricant would have been a welcome accompaniment, if only to make those odd moments a little less awkward.