Reviews //

Engo Revue: Like high school again. But worse.

Victoria Zerbst and Naaman Zhou saw Engo Revue 2016: Pokemon Engo and wrote this review

Photo by Zerby Zerbst

Watching Engo Revue is like crawling into a dead meme for warmth. Except the warmth is really your beer, which is warm and free.

When you enter Engo Revue, you are given a drink voucher and a ballpit ball to throw, because Engo Revue is best enjoyed drunk and with a lot of heckling. Two screens straddle the stage and regurgitate a dribble of tweets, because tech-heckling is encouraged.

The show opened with a dedication to Harambe and every dick on stage (dick count: 4) was a sacrifice to the dead ape.

Engo Revue has benefited from the fallow period of not being put on (at least in its regular capacity) last year. But it’s still unable to shed its ancestral wrinkly skin – due in most part to the audience and its environment.  

The revue presented a dichotomy between the old, traditional engineering revue mentality and a fresh, new, slightly politically correct mindset. Director Mattie Longfield and the all-women sketches were a breath of fresh air, and sketches like ‘Engo Boys’ and ‘Goon, glorious goon’ should be commended. The women were good. Beyond good. They were brave, resilient and had good voices.

Edwin Ho also had a voice, and the band offered the restless audience respite from the very long pauses between sketches.

A joke about St Paul’s students being cunts was the first autonomous joke of the night. It was delivered by a Pauline, and therefore punched sideways.

Punches were also delivered in the form of grade-A heckles from the crowd, including “show us your punchline” or “you look like a creep”.

This was clearly a revue that captured the essence of the engineering faculty. Like watching an engineer’s mind from inside a goon sack. There were jokes making fun of gender studies majors, the lack of women in engineering, group assignments and sex things.

But too many of these sketches were like erections that never resulted in cum.  

Low points were: cultural appropriation cops (unclear where it was punching); waterboarding as an artful motif, if artful means bad; and an inexplicable classist ‘Leb’ character who couldn’t finish a Cert II.

Nicholas Dai was bad on stage, and even worse off stage when he heckled from the audience, saying, “All international students are autistic”. This was objectively bad, by anyone’s standard.   

A highpoint, however, was a self-reflective monologue deconstructing a joke about a banana peel, the performer hoping to “challenge traditional paradigms of theatre”, name-checking Beckett while being pummelled by multi-coloured balls.

Engo Revue is the wet dream you wish you never had. When the alcohol wears off you feel uncomfortable and sticky and ashamed. Ashamed of chanting ““Fuck off UTS! Fuck off UTS!” and “Here’s to [a priest] he’s true blue”, ashamed of the amount of beers and waffle fries you consumed, and ashamed that you were actually entertained.