Venue: Pleasance at EICC, Lomond Theatre
Reputedly the world’s longest-running live comedy show, NewsRevue provides an hour of satirical singing, dancing and sketches that garners laughs while remaining on fairly well-travelled comedic ground.
The staging is minimal, with scenes established through impressively rapid costume changes. The various segments are held together by the highly capable pianist, who provides fitting interludes between them, assisting musically with the scene-setting.
There are multiple impressions of current politicians throughout, including Nicola Sturgeon, Boris Johnson, Rishi Sunak and in a show highlight, Chris Whitty doing ‘standup’. Sturgeon comes out all guns blazing, while Johnson is characterised skilfully as lumbering, gung-ho and chaotic.
The show does leave some jokes unmade, and others resolved with a lesser punchline than anticipated. Often, a sketch builds nicely, then abruptly ends with a punchline that still feels like part of the build-up. Additionally, some sketches are better established than others, with the intended outcome of some segments being a little confusing. This is contributed to by an issue of technology, diction, or both. Some dialogue is delivered at a pace and register that makes it difficult to understand in the vast venue. This unfortunately causes some gags to land with less punch.
If satire is supposed to skewer the political elite, this treatment feels rather light-touch, often relying on well established satirical tropes about individual politicians and never really pushing any satirical boundaries. The show claims to make ever-original critical takes, but some jokes, while funny, are a little obvious. The overall effect is that of a show which is very comfortable with its production values and loyal audience built on a clear pedigree, but one which also slightly lacks political punch in the current incendiary political environment that is so ripe for commentary.
Despite this, the show is good fun to watch with many laughs to be had once you settle into its style of satire. Some of the show’s brightest spots are the absolutely dedicated performances from each member of the capable cast. Particularly strong is the interpretation of songs from musical theatre and pop, which are also good opportunities to demonstrate the strong vocal talent of the cast.
Overall, NewsRevue is a good show to see for a summary of some current news issues and satirical targets within the current crop of politicians. The performers’ dedication to their bits create comedic moments which earn deserved appreciation. These are aided by the very skilful pianist who is central to the show, tying the various elements together. The writing could have more bite, especially given the potential material being provided regularly by the current political set, but the overall show provides enough laughs and thoughtful moments to warrant a recommendation.
24-29 Aug, 12:30 & 20:30
Image credits: NewsRevue