Upon entering Marrickville’s Red Rattler Theatre, there was an excited energy in the air. The packed-out venue oozed anticipation for the rebirth (BIRTH JOKE WOO) of the University’s Wom*n’s Revue. The supportive crowd sipped red wine and began cheering at the five minute call.
Director Julia Robertson and producer Julia Clark have ensured the long-term continuation of the revue, setting off the 2015 revue season with a bang (SEX JOKE WOO). The opening number – an Aussie housewife rehash of Chicago’s Cell Block Tango – was highly polished and jam-packed with the tongue-in-cheek trials and tribulations of croquembouche construction and cleaning with Jif. Having set a delightfully high standard for what was to come, the rest of the show rolled on with a strong series of physical gags and political punchlines.
Most skits were well-written and enjoyably kooky. The best scenes entered slightly weird territory and came with subtle and empowering gender commentary – think séances for same-sex romantic hopefuls, “Shankspeare” (lad Shakespeare), and a feminist superhero rap. All wom*n shone on stage in their particular scenes. Bebe D’Souza was great throughout, as was Maddie Houlbrook-Walk. Both brought infectious, silly energy to characters that could have been otherwise forgettable (a lovelorn Francis Bacon; a little girl doing a class presentation on Beyoncé).
The sketches that didn’t pack enough punch could have been easily tightened had the show run for a couple more nights, and while most scenes were great conceptually, some of the writing wasn’t as developed as it could have been. An AV sketch about the pronunciation of “bruschetta” was one-dimensional and dragged just a tad too long, the fart punchline of the Hunger Games sketch confused me more than anything else, and a scene where four elements were throwing serious shade toward the Internet didn’t use its potential to be one of the cleverest parts of the show.
However, such is the nature of the revue – not every sketch can be the strongest – and I’m nitpicking as, overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the show, as did the rest of the crowd, by the sound of it. Musical parodies were all polished highlights: Kendra Murphy nailed a sentimental Danny Zucko wanting to change his ways, Victoria Zerbst took full ownership of a sassy snail in a hilarious parody of that originally heinous “Sail”, and the closing Shania Twain rendition tickled me pink (not because it’s a stereotypically girly colour though, pfft).
The awkward pop medley interludes jarred with the rest of the comedy and were unnecessary and unexceptional and would have been better off being transformed into a sketch of their own. Speaking of interludes, the transitions were flawless, as were the innumerable costume changes. AV was well directed and produced, and generally slotted in nicely throughout the physical sketches.
I was waiting for some literal glitter to be thrown at the audience (such was the show’s namesake), but by the end of the show I realised it wasn’t necessary. The diverse talent and passion these wom*n injected into Glittoris provided more than enough sparkle for me.