I can assure you I had never been more excited to walk into a room and find myself at gunpoint. Within seconds of entering the Reginald Theatre, the destruction, wreckage and fishnet stockings of 2016 Wom*n’s Revue take centre stage, creating a fitting atmosphere of edginess and thrilling tension. The ensuing apocalyptic cabaret is a whirlwind of singing, dancing, bedazzled vagina leotards and a band of fierce wom*n performing magnificent sketch comedy – and loving every second of it.
Directors Sarah Gaul and Kendra Murphy masterfully navigated a show that was guided by social and politically-fuelled material, but on the whole steered clear of being a theatrical sermon. Particularly remarkable was the fluidity with which the show dipped in and out of surreally amusing audio-visual sketches to slapstick physical performance. A particularly well-received video sketch depicted Captain Cook being evicted from his inner-west share house for not respecting the personal space and autonomy of his housemates.
The band was exceptionally impressive, with talented musicians showcasing their abilities: from an eerie violin solo that bookended the show, to a quirky rendition of ‘Cups’, complete with conductor Josie Gibson endearingly knocking her instrument off the synthesiser stand halfway through. Anna Kendrick would have probably appreciated it.
The skits themselves were consistently entertaining with standout performances from Belinda Anderson-Hunt, Lena Wang and Shevvi Barrett-Brown. Katie Thorburn’s ‘powerful’ (it’ll make sense when you see it) performance was a highlight of the revue.
The night’s unique blend of surreal humour and scathing societal satire peaked with Tiffany Alexander and Conchetta Caristo leaping onto stage from the audience as enraged ‘dudebros’ protesting the “boring PC bullshit” we were all supposedly watching.
The few technical difficulties that marginally injured the show were minor, but unfortunately had disappointing consequences for some otherwise superb sketches. An audio malfunction left the exceptionally talented Bridget Haberecht unamplified during an uproarious performance of ‘It’s Raining Water’. The routine’s first half was inaudible, but thankfully saved by some dazzling choreography from the entire cast.
Highlights of the revue included a drunk and dejected Ron Weasley singing an appropriated Missy Higgins anthem after being left by Hermione Granger for the ‘Chosen One’, and a fabulously polarising jab at the recently vulgarized Wesley College.
The show ended much like it started: on a high note, with Christine New reprising her skilfully-wrought role from the first act’s apocalyptic introduction. The cast filed onto stage to take their bows amidst the clamour of adulation from the audience and the obligatory bucket of glitter from the ceiling. Though it would have been encouraging to see a more ethnically diverse cast, with an unfortunately small number of wom*n of colour on stage, the show was a triumph. If you are one of the lucky few to have snagged a ticket, put down the knitting, the book and the broom and come to the last cabaret on Earth.