Directly after the 2013 Engineering Revue The Slizzard of Oz, the most common refrain among audience members was simply “What was that?” It was a fair enough criticism of a show that lacked finesse and, at times, logical progression.
But those who had not witnessed an Engineering Revue before, meant it sincerely. See, the aim of the Engineering Revue is wholly different to that of its peers: it exists not to entertain, but to be heckled.
For the most part, the heckling was inarguably hilarious. But sometimes it marred skits that would have otherwise been successful, such as the deadpan reading of news stories with puns, and the plight of the unfortunate man suffering from costume confusion. The constant bare chests of various engineering students were a delight to all who appreciate toned abs, and the band was truly phenomenal, provoking several audience sing-a-longs.
The Slizzard of Oz narrative almost entirely failed to capture the interest of the audience, though, to be fair, most of the dialogue was completely drowned out by yelling. Other sketches, such as the political showdowns between a varying combination of Abbott, Gillard, and Rudd and a couple of scenes that inexplicably turned into dance parties, fell flat all on their own.
The last twenty minutes of the show dragged, as sketches and heckles alike deteriorated in quality. The cast looked increasingly reluctant to be appearing on the stage — a reasonable approach, considering the sheer volume of the heckling crowd.
Against regular revue criteria, this was not a good show. But the crowd was engaged, the Manning atmosphere was electric, and I suspect few people left disappointed. I’d see it again — just to heckle.