Many of this year’s revue casts overlap with MUSE, Theatresports, SUDS, and each other. Upon seeing an entirely fresh list of names in the program for We’ll Come Up With Something Later. This Is Just A Working Title, the 2015 Architecture Revue, I was looking forward to seeing some new talent, and fresh approaches to comedy and the revue format. As it turned out, the approach was different, but the talent was lacking.
Rather than a series of unconnected sketches, the Architecture Revue was largely made up of linked narrative scenes, which began as a vague spy-thriller parody. The overall impression was like that of a mistranslated Japanese RPG—a protagonist has a vague sense of a quest, which is to be completed through random encounters with shallowly defined characters, and the dialogue makes very little sense. The second act introduced an entirely different main character, a detective who asked for ‘the information about the portals’ probably a dozen times. The portals were the only linking factor with the first act, until an awkward melding of plotlines which quickly became meta. In between these scenes, a monkey hand-puppet aggressively asked the audience and band if they knew what was going on. This was some relief, at least until it too became part of a meta-joke.
There were a few scenes unconnected to the storyline, some of which showed promising ideas, but lacked in execution, and especially in punchlines and closure. The video sketches were the best, and one of them wasn’t very good. The other was a meandering, uneventful satire of council planning, which turned out to have some decent jokes and use of the medium towards the end. The only convincing line delivery was in Russian as part of a sign-language translator gag which didn’t work. There seemed to be a spectacular lack of understanding of how to actually use a phone. One classic revue trope, the chain-of-puns sketch, in this case about windows, was adequate. The nude performance was proceeded by the only joke onstage which really worked (God’s housemate dons horns and a pitchfork to go to work, with the line “What do you think I do? I’m a stripper”). It happily subverted the standard ‘costume doesn’t quite reveal anything’ by not quite covering anything, even with a program suspended almost far enough down a mankini.
The band did some fine, if repetitive funk grooves. The only original song was an inept, slut-shaming parody of ‘Blowing in the Wind’, with a set-up sketch that covered, or rather introduced without exploring, racism and childhood cancer. The set was a rather nice living room, which did not connect with what was onstage at all, but gave the band somewhere to sit.