The inaugural International Revue started and ended with positive, diversity-focussed anthems that wholly reflected the theme, ‘Kaleidoscope’—to reflect the rich diversity of cultures and talents at USyd with each twist and turn of the show.
Directed by Georgia Tan and Sherry Mao, plans for the revue helped producer, Zhixian Wang, land her a role as a USU Board Director last year, and now, delivering on her promise, should win her the admiration and respect of her peers.
Disney sing-alongs, K-pop references, banana costumes, and even a lesson in translation from USyd’s international demographic opened the door to a night of rich cultural exposure and exchange.
As with any new artistic venture, the show was not without its teething problems. The inexperience of the cast and its directors did construct a far less polished revue than would be expected of a longer running performance. It became clear from the often uncoordinated song and dance numbers that the show, in its infancy premiere, has not yet reached the calibre of its other identity revue counterparts.
The first half of the revue struggled to build momentum, with many scenarios pleasantly set up to a climax, before the punchlines fell flat. Shorter skits found it particularly difficult to gain traction throughout the night, though sparks of energy glowed bright in humorous versions of popular songs such as ‘Under HD’ and ‘Open Gunland Style’.
The best skits, those that gained the most comfortable reaction from the audience, were the ones that played into cultural differences and obscurities experienced by the international community. Highlights were the bellyache-inducing parodies of Australian accents and habits, and a necessary takedown of the gargantuan fees forced upon the students (“even the Jacaranda tree died from the pressure.”) For both the cast and wide-ranging audience, the skits discussing the confusions of cross-cultural life at university resonated most strongly, highlighting this as an aspect that should be more heavily emphasised in future.
Indeed, there is a welcome and needed future for this heartwarming, colourful effort by the international student population to more completely participate in an important part of the ‘USyd experience’. The passion and emotion of the cast alone promises to push this breakthrough first revue into something far more meaningful in the years to come.
If the international revue develops its political edge and gains a stronger focus, it may well become a force to be reckoned with in Identity Revue season.
Kaleidoscope: International Revue is playing at the Seymour Centre’s Reginald Theatre on Friday 25th May and Saturday 26th at 7:30pm.