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A Wealth of Talent, Satire Undercooked: Midsomer Mergers, the 2015 Law Revue

A few flaws don’t overrule this plucky and talented show, writes Max Baume

Midsomer mergers

It’s a wonderful thing to be able to watch how a group of highly intelligent students when given a stage and an audience take that opportunity to be extraordinarily silly. This is a good thing, the vast majority of the time, as it allows us to engage with an evening that is wonderfully entertaining, and enjoy our peers behaving like the children we all are at heart. The Law Revue is different from other revues in the traditions it upholds – it’s unassailably tight band, polished and thoughtful music and dance numbers, and an extremely fast turnaround from skit casting to performance night. This year’s revue, as in years prior, deliberate lack of sophistication sometimes comes with a cost, and the speedy skit production is a risk that doesn’t always pay off, but these flaws do not overrule the talent and spirit on show from a group of plucky and formidably clever students.

From the opening number fronted by co-director Lachlan Cameron it’s quite clear what is going to impress us in this revue. Brilliantly led with airtight choreography, we’re immediately belted by a wealth of talent and effort, but most of all the joy of the people onstage is obvious and infectious, especially when considering how far apart so many elements of this show are, floating effortlessly between a full cast song and dance number, to a jazzy cover of Darude, then Hamlet’s musings applied to ducks, followed by one of a few frankly breathtaking a capella spot.

That lack of cohesion is often on show though. Satire takes a hit, with a lot of political jokes lacking bite, for example last year’s “What if Tony Abbott had even bigger ears” and this year’s “What if Joe Hockey is literally a slug”, but the overall silliness of the concepts lend them credulity. Where the revue sometimes falters, rather, is when these stories go on too long, either ending with an thoughtless punchline, or lack of one entirely. This left actors forced to replace a one-liner with a goofy reaction face while the lights lazily faded on their scene. Overly lengthy videos further break the snappy flow of performances that the Revue attempts to maintain through its multi-stage skits, a fantastic idea that technical problems sadly lessen the impact of.

These technical errors are likely born of the snappy skit development. Agonisingly quiet voices make audience members almost afraid to laugh, in real danger of missing a joke or quip – a danger this writer in fact realised, missing quite a few gags in the course of the show.

But when the Law Revue was good, it was really damn good. Surely the highlight of this year’s revue season so far was Les Miserables “the Confrontation” between Chris Pyne and a struggling university student, and the painfully resonant finale that presented a cis-hetero white student hijacking hijacking a marriage equality rally to the tune of “Ice Ice Baby” definitely warrants an honourable mention. And these go to represent what this year’s law revue gave us – not a production that hit all its lofty targets, but a fun and refreshing showcase of bursts of brilliance from a fabulously capable group.

Vice Chancellor Michael Spence.

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