The 2016 Arts Revue was a shabby-chic production. Some would call the humour hit-and-miss, but I think the show had rugged charm, like a handsome rogue with razor wit and a forgivable affinity for dad jokes.
The writers harnessed the power of nostalgia, with lines like “Dear Dolly, my boyfriend touched my boob AM I PREGNANT?”, a Bop It toy that went from playing the role of a personal trainer to being a relationship counsellor to vindictive life-ruining menace, and my favourite skit of the night, Blue Heelys – a film featuring Jon Lo and Eliza Ronan as police officers who speed after runaway rogues on their miniature wheels. Jenna Owen switched from hilarious role to hilarious role with spooky, shaping-shifting versatility and Ondine Manfrin added flair with her Broadway vocals.
I loved the scene about a workplace boys’ club, played by an all-female cast, becoming feminist allies for PR reasons. The boys mansplained feminism, tried to king-hit the glass ceiling, and left me craving more satire. That’s not to suggest that I didn’t enjoy watching Ondine Manfrin and Aaron Chen gorging themselves on chicken drumsticks in time to the Chicken Dance song – I lapped up the slapstick.
However, rather than linking each skit together to provide overarching structure, the Olympics theme was superficial. The opening Olympic torch sequence was brilliant, effectively hijacking the audience’s space, but the theme petered out until it was hurriedly revamped for the finale, referenced sporadically through vanilla filler acts like a rendition of Queen’s We are the Champions.
The theme faltered and there were moments when the comedic timing was a beat late. However, like Youtube before DSLR gentrification, on Thursday the 18th, the Everest Theatre of the Seymour Centre was a space for the unpolished, unpretentious sketch – and funnier for it. Perfection is boring. A little bit of imperfection translated into spontaneity and verve.
I left the theatre with DJ Ba$$face’s sick beats and Gough Whitlam’s sexy speech ringing in my ears as sweet tinnitus, with Jimmy the Crazy Dancing Monkey’s dance moves and Darby Judd’s seductive feline smirk on my mind. I realised two things: 1) the Arts Revue is utterly stupid, and 2) I need to be part of it next year.
Read another review of this show here.