The highly anticipated inaugural Autonomous Collective Against Racism Revue: 2015: A Race Odyssey finished off this year’s revue season with a (big) bang. Strong performances, consistently funny content, brutal social commentary and hands down the best title of the season – all in all a stellar show.
Time constraints made a stack of AV’s a smart choice, and all were worth the wait of that sluggish Red Rattler projector. ‘Ban the Birkenstock’s’ asked the age old question, do white people have the right to wear such ugly ugly footwear, a deadpan Eden Caceda played tribute to Tony Abbott’s journey from uni hack to oniony, ousted PM in Tay Tay’s hit song ‘Whitest Dreams’, and a short, well-shot How to Get Away With Murder AV killed with the punchline: Be White. The strongest sketches went beyond simple inversions of racial stereotypes. A family suspecting their white neighbours of stealing and eating their pet was mildly funny, but with the addition of a voice over Taken parody ‘If you give my cow back, it ends here’ it became a highlight. 2015: A Race Odyssey certainly wasn’t afraid to get weird. ‘PC PC’ featured a sentient, anti-racist computer shutting down some everyday racist ignorance with a chilling HAL impersonation by Kavya Kalutantiri. Sketch premises were strong across the board, though some fell flat with a lack of rehearsal. A lengthy, all-cast acapella Beyonce medley was probably ambitious given the time constraints. The show itself struggled to maintain itself over three hours (with intermission). Tech and timing issues gave the night the feel of a solid dress run. The show never claimed to be well-rehearsed, and though delayed lights and forgotten lines stole laughs from solid sketches, they didn’t detract from the outstanding quality of the night.
The standout moment of the night came from a David Attenborough voice over narration of the club mating ritual of a lad, funny in its own right, revealed to be merely the set up sketch for ‘Colour of Our Skin’. Aparna Balakumara and Lena Wang confidently belted out a stunning takedown of fetishisation of women of colour to the tune of ‘Colours of The Wind’, putting bintang shirt-clad lads everywhere in their rightful place, grovelling on the ground.
2015: A Race Odyssey had the dual task of pleasing its audience and representing a marginalised community. The show more than delivered on both, naming and shaming racism, white privilege and ripping Mosman to tiny, tiny shreds, all the while ensuring the longevity of the revue for years to come. It also gave hope to political comedy on campus following the loss of easy target Tony Abbott, with Xiaoran Shi’s callous Malcolm Turnbull reminding us all that hey, we’re ok, it’s still the Liberals.