Plenty of Pleasure to be had Without a Climax: The Uni Revue as part of the 2015 Sydney Comedy Festival

Sam Langford is edging

The program of the 2015 Sydney Uni Revue describes the show as “all the best bits of the Uni Revues”. This is a reasonably bold claim, given that it was essentially a highlights reel for the Arts and Science revues, with the occasional inclusion from elsewhere. Your reviewer’s memory is imperfect, but I counted a single sketch from Queer Revue. It was, pleasingly, one of the night’s best moments, in which the seriously talented Shevvi Barrett-Brown played a transit officer with Film Noir aspirations.

Bias towards certain revues aside, it was a genuinely funny show, with familiar material elevated to new levels by a consistently excellent cast, at the direction of Dave Harmon and Gabi Kelland. Julia Robertson won hearts as an endearing and incredibly convincing child, and demonstrated a capacity for backward rolls that I can only envy. Davis Murphy shone as an indignant jewel thief, and Patrick Morrow was distressingly good at playing a sentient, sex-crazed issue of Cosmopolitan. Never in my life have I heard “fist him in the arse!” yelled with such raw, emotional conviction. Never in my life have I wanted to.

Other highlights included a heartfelt medley of the misogynist anthems of our time by Maddie Malouf, a terrifying duo of Eldritch children (Barret-Brown and Lachlan Cameron), and Science Revue’s a capella Royals parody. Also worth a nod were the band (commanded by Oli Cameron) who, despite a few hiccups (perhaps a symptom of being split on either side of the stage), were generally charismatic, talented, and nailed their song choices.

A dishonourable mention goes to a certain sketch about Scooby Doo, which was just as heartbreaking the second time around. Further dishonourable mention goes to the sound system (at least on Thursday night), which frequently rendered performers inaudible (in particular, drowning out the words of what should have been an exceptional musical number about antiheroes).

The sound issues lent a kind of disappointment that permeated the show. I left feeling underwhelmed. As if, like Cosmo, I’d spent the show eagerly awaiting a climax, which never felt like it arrived. Still, there’s plenty of pleasure to be had without a climax and, overall, the revue delivered. If you’re after high quality performances and a quick way to allay your Revue-season FOMO, the Sydney Uni Revue is a pretty good night.

Revue III

Images courtesy of Victoria Baldwin