Despite suffering from one of the more questionable pun titles in this year’s revue season, Moolah Rouge was a thoroughly enjoyable show coloured by the professionally excellent music and dance numbers that have come define Commerce Revue over the past few years.
The opening song, taken from the musical classic, A Chorus Line, was a clever take on the torturous process of job applications and set the tone for what was to be a high-energy show. The first few skits answered the call with simple and solid premises, warming the audience up to the first highlight – an extended parody of the children’s song ‘There’s a Hole in my Bucket’. This skit initially seemed to be an interminable listing of ways to fix holes in buckets, but the combination of a strong punchline and the charming acting prowess of Aidan Kane and Zara Stanton cemented this skit among the show’s best. Kane also featured in the hilarious sketch entitled ‘A world without PA systems’ in which library lingerers were physically and violently escorted by a human PA system, escalating to Kane’s eventual murder of a student who had the gall to borrow a book after the library had closed.
In a rarity for revues in which the writing is really made by the acting, Commerce Revue used the technique of ‘just kill everybody’ relatively sparingly and with great effect; in one sketch, a customer tries to return a faulty item to a store whereupon the store manager insists that one of the retail workers must be shot in fulfillment of a ‘zero customer disappointment policy’.
Absurd humourists and show directors, Julian Hollis and Jacinta Gregory delivered some uniquely funny AVs, including a brilliantly cut series of wordplays on ‘So You Think You Can Dance’, featuring glancing, prancing pantsing and many more. Another, almost too ridiculous to describe in actual human words, followed the struggle of a psychiatric patient as it came to terms with being a chair. Yep. The show did falter, with a series of one-joke skits laboured into long scenes and a bizarre choice to play the Moulin Rouge soundtrack (far too softly) as accompaniment to an otherwise incredibly choreographed Act Two opening number. Even still, the sheer amount of acting, singing and dancing talent showcased by so many (let’s face it, MUSE-based) cast members made Moolah Rouge a highlight of this revue season.