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The 2014 Sydney Uni Revue Review

Christina White knows Spain is a shirtless constitutional monarchy.

Photography: Victoria Baldwin

Pitched as ‘all the best bits’, this show was a beautiful mongrel production; its cast and skits were taken from the ten shows of the USU’s 2013 revue season, and these motley fools presented a cohesive two hours of hilarity.

On opening night the group normally left til last were awesome. Whoever was in this band are gods. Liam had the most friends in the audience so I know his name. Their covers were so fun the 70-year-olds next to me were dancing in their seats. These musical deities started off messing around with some pop hits and almost outshone Miley with ‘Party in the USA’ (hard, because Miley is great), before proceeding to funky mash ups like ‘Rehab/Happy and Blurred Lines/Batman’ (geniously replacing problematic lyrics with “nan a naaas” and the inoffensive “Batman” of Batman).

Onto the slightly less godly beings, the cast. Most importantly they did some great interactive skits with the band gods. Which were great. Because the band were gods. It turns out the cast can also sing, and the musical quality of the show was consistently splendid. The A Capella, a revue staple, had great energy – especially in the butt and legs of the conductor, who moved at a level I’ve not seen in four years of revues. Bravo.

In a beautiful theme of wannabe narcissism, these second-rate gods very much liked god-themed skits. I particularly loved the exploration of Jesus and Joseph’s relationship, opening with Jesus trying to play catch with his real dad and throwing a ball up in the air, only for it to drop sorrowfully. The religious satire was very clever at points, but at times sacrificed wit for crassness – like the gyrating orgy of the last supper. That said, perhaps student theatre is the best time to watch the disciple next to Judas fuck some grapes.

Absurd humour was recurrent and brilliantly performed, featuring some intense maniacs – special credit to Jim Fishwick’s deranged characters and brave venture into the audience. I’d never imagined an alcoholic Madeline, NSA agents pulling bloody heads out of a Country Road bag, or a country singer wanting to dress his best friend like a horse to fuck him in the mouth, but I think I’m better off for it. Whilst excelling at rubber body parts, the prop department failed on pedal driven vehicles; the child Bond villain’s tricycle that was so well executed in last year’s Arts Revue lacked the perfect squeaking sound that was needed to sustain such a long script.

A clear highlight was Lion King classic ‘Be Prepared’, rewritten to satirise Cory Bernardi and his posse of bigots opposing gay marriage. In the tightest gold leggings I’ve ever seen on stage, Sam Farrell gave another killer performance as Scar. Singing to the puritans about the gays’ true desire to get hitched to their pets, he warns, “When we can finally get married, you’ll magically turn gay as well.” This is without a doubt one of the best numbers I’ve ever seen performed at the Seymour.

Other than this, the large musical numbers were a bit hit and miss. The opening number fell flat and the long rap songs lacked articulation (projected lyrics would’ve helped a lot), but the final number was a cute ode to all the faculties, and all the songs had admirable energy from the leads.

Aside from the gay army wanting everyone to marry a fridge, political satire was oddly lacking from the show. Other great moments were Putin’s bodyguards crushing on Putin, headphones dancing in your pocket (this time booming to ‘Harlem Shake’), and a Marxist reading of ‘A Very Hungry Caterpillar’. Most of the jokes were creative and original, avoiding tactless one-liners. Unfortunately there was a noticeable gender divide in the allocation of strong characters, and two points of seemingly unnecessary drag.

Overall a really strong show that occasionally fell down on things that the big shows are expected to drop the ball on. Thank you little gods, I laughed a lot.