One of the most traditionally beloved revues of the season, Jew Revue 2016 delivered laughs galore on its opening night. The show was a delightful celebration of Jewish culture and embodied the flourishing performing arts scene at USyd. Directed by former directors of Arts and Science Revue, Victoria Zerbst and Adam Chalmers, the eclectic cast exuded joy, and sold every fresh and wacky moment.
Mad Max Brenner: Jewry Road drew its jewspiration from material ranging from biblical times to modern day hollywood celebs. Though its Jewish references created the underlying fabric, many of the show’s strongest moments were just plain quirky. In a crowd favourite sketch, Emma Balfour’s acting chops were on full display in her dramatic retelling of swallowing every animal under the sun.
Not any revue can drop an Emily Eyefinger sketch but Steph Ryan’s googly-eye taped to her finger made me want to run home and find my Emily Eyefinger books stat. A surprise video guest caused a ripple of ‘OMG WTF’ reactions in the audience – during intermission, listen for whispers of “was that really him?!!” Jestika Chand and Aidan Mollins hilariously delivered their hot-take of a morning news show, ‘Dude, No!’. And little could beat Davis Murphy’s Harry Potterwitz and the Scarry Dick ft. the Sorting Yamaka, whose prop dildo fell and hit Voldemort (an accident that I hope reoccurs every night). Running jokes are the make or break of any revue and this show delivered, with a hilarious monotone voice interrupting popular hit songs. Theo Murray’s voiceovers were also a crowd-winner.
Jew Revue’s musical numbers were on point with The Black Eyed Peas’ ‘Boom Boom Pow’ converted into the anthem for Turnbull’s ‘Ideas Boom’ in a stellar showcase of rapping, singing and acting. Musical director Will ‘Wally’ Allington, and choreographer Isabel Rae Timmerman produced the highlights of the night, delivering a stunning closing number to the tune of Mambo No. 5. Another musical number featured an endearing case of forgotten lyrics, with all four singers unfortunately falling silent during a 9/11 based musical number. This critic really wanted to hear those parody replacement lyrics.
While some of the punchlines could’ve punched harder, and a few sketches fell flat, the revue was nevertheless an extraordinary mixture of wit, fun and eccentricity. The production is full of spirit, a charming show you’d be mad to miss. For those worried you won’t get every Jewish reference, merely the gorgeous set design along with the promise of a live baby and real dog, will make this show worth your buck.