WHO WOULD WIN: A revue with a lot of potential and a talented directing team and cast or one heckler boi?

Welcome to hell.

Imagine you are Dante in his descent through Inferno. You have traversed through horrors no mortal man has ever seen but nothing can compare you for what’s next. Bestial beings screech in feverish cacophony, scrunched pages of Honi Soit pelt down on you like bullets. You are in the Ninth Circle of Hell: Engo Revue 2017.

Infamously banned from every performance venue on campus, Taylor Swift themed Reputation: 2017 Engineering Revue takes place in none other than the engineers’ home territory of PNR lecture theatre 2. There is no stage and no set aside from the projected live Twitter feed. The Wom*n’s edition of Honi is peppered throughout the auditorium to be repurposed as heckling projectiles. The audience is readied to experience the dramatic arts in in its most primal form.

The night opens on a high note with a beautifully self-aware parody of ‘Look What You Made Me Do’. The cast is well choreographed and enthusiastic as they proclaim “The old Engo Revue can’t come to the phone right now. Why? Because they’re banned.”

A powerful ukulele ballad about the throes of university and a sketch with men literally circle jerking to their accolades are some of the highlights of the night. The cleverly written and well executed musical numbers, put together by director Sam Connolly and 2016 director Mattie Longfield, are more diamonds in the rough. But boy does it get rough.

For a group of extremely technologically adept people, there is inexplicably only one microphone amongst the entire cast. Combine this with the drunken audience’s desire for chanting homages to Scubar (RIP) and a good portion of the sketches are rendered inaudible.

Consequently, much of the action of the night was audience instigated and driven. The elusive ‘piano man’ pumped out bangers as the crowd gayly sang along with hearts full but voices fit to be featured in Broken things in PNR memes for Engineering teens. In those moments the engineering faculty was shockingly pure.

This was short lived as audience participation’s less wholesome son, heckling, made its presence known. Although traditionally the revue has welcomed and encouraged banter, this year hit an unprecedented low. Poor form including (but not limited to): a countdown of two female cast members on stage, and audience members yelling “show us your tits” or “take it off”.

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Quips about the revue quickly devolved into what is at best, poignant statements about my ass eating ability and at worse, red flags indicative of the toxic masculinity, sexism and slut shaming culture pervasive in the engineering faculty. This was also addressed in a later public statement on the Sydney University Engineering Revue Society Facebook page. Yikes.

Engineering revue is always going to be polarising as an outsider. It’s a rabid dog no one wants to touch and you can’t help but feel sorry for it and pray it gets put down immediately. Like, very immediately. Although the show closes with “arts students gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate”, Engo Revue 2017 is a reminder that you will never hate engineering as much as it hates itself.