Explosively Talented: The Arts of War, the 2015 Arts Revue

Emma Balfour knows what we are fighting for.

Emma Balfour knows what we are fighting for.

Arts Revue is renowned for its mixture of dark humour, fantastic acting, and sharp writing, and this year’s show was no fucking exception. Sun Tzu’s The Arts of War was a very neat show, structured by a voiceover through-line that discussed different facets to war, mixing the biting, sadistic irony of Arts Revue with the gentle delivery of Douglas Adams—it did its job without intruding upon the sketches while still holding the show together with impressive grace. The show was not fully appreciated by the Saturday night parents’ crowd—but that didn’t make the sketches any less funny.

Arts Revue this year was blessed with an explosively talented and attractive cast. Memorable standouts included Elliot Miller’s excitable last post bugle-player, Maddie Houlbrook-Walk’s Toy Story-obsessed mother talking about the birds and bees, Aidan Molins’ pinpoint TEDx talker, Aaron Chen’s persistent robot, and Darby Judd’s abs (flexing and push-ups were common). This year’s sketches were also impressive—neat, hysterical scripts which tripled in impact by the cast’s performances. Personal favourites were a father’s divorce discussed via farts, every cast member showing off their Attenborough impersonation, the most emotional building demolition in history, a brilliant cyclical hypnotism sketch, and a heartfelt musical about a tree.

Speaking of music, this year was spectacular. Under the music direction of Josie Gibson, the stupendous vocalists showed off their skills, and were matched by an impressive mini orchestra. Hugh Guest was up to his usual musical antics, Robert Boddington and Eliza Ronan sung a sweet ditty about superglue, and a Mulan parody about Men’s Right’s Activism, complete with fedoras and the refrain “Not All Men”, nearly lost me a lung. I could write this whole review about that one song. I could write a whole book about it.

On top of that, the stagecraft of this show was unlike any revue I’ve ever seen. AV sketches lead into stage sketches. Every audience member was given a red balloon before the show which completed the ‘99 Luftballons’ closing number for Act 1; these were burst by a vengeful uterus at the start of the second half. A messy orange juice sketch was cleaned up by deck-scrubbing pirates in the next scene.

Arts Revue was incredible. Every aspect of this fantastic show is a testament to the talent of directors Alex Richmond and Vic Zerbst and their ridiculous cast. To miss it is a war crime.