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NewsRevue 2019 at Underbelly George Square Edinburgh

NewsRevue - Courtesy of Ross McGivern
NewsRevue – Courtesy of Ross McGivern

The thing about the current occupants (at the time of writing) of the White House and 10 Downing Street is that it is quite understandable to wonder if there is much point watching musical current affairs satire shows like NewsRevue – one might as well turn on the television news or go to a news website and laugh one’s head off at the ludicrousness of the world in which we live. The other thing about this show is that it’s only an hour long, and the continuing fallout from That Referendum could quite easily take up the whole thing.

Interesting, then, that the show turns to Les Misérables to discuss – well, ‘the B word’ (which is what I hastily scribbled down after the show, and I’m sticking to it) – a show whose London production runs for 2 hours 50 minutes (though the concert version on Shaftesbury Avenue at the moment may be slightly less). One learns to be fairly ‘unshockable’ in the course of reviewing, though there was a noticeable collective gasp from practically everyone else in the audience at one point. Oh well. Such is the point of satirical productions – there should be no stone left unturned, no subject to be shied away from.

Althea Burey does a hilarious Boris Johnson, while Maya-Nike Bewley is left to put on ‘hashtag sadface’ in the form of Theresa May. Brett Sinclair brought the house down with an impression of Melania Trump (and then again when playing a moon – yes, a moon), and Christian James does a pitch perfect Jeremy Corbyn. At the keyboard, stage right, sits Andrew Linnie, who has a lot of work to do but seems to relish the challenge and enjoy the ride. Scene changes are remarkably swift, as ever with this show, and some scenes work better than others, though sometimes this depends on personal points of reference (the ‘Game of Thrones’ scene, for instance, went over my head as I know nothing about that series).

The show doesn’t limit itself to musical theatre when it comes to picking songs to re-work – the cast dress as avocados from Mexico who have been turned away at the United States border, to the tune of ‘Don’t Speak’, a 1995 song by American band No Doubt. There were also references to Greta Thunberg – the show was kind to the teenager herself, less so to those who seemingly have unrealistic expectations of her – as well as Diane Abbott and John Bercow. A sketch in which Burey’s ‘Nicola Sturgeon’ calls little Englanders ‘wee bastards’ went down well with the Edinburgh locals in the audience.

The hypocrisy of (certain) younger people is exposed – they discuss how ‘terrible’ the gun shootings are in the United States, only to pull out large knives on someone just for being nice enough to say ‘hello’. It’s not all there, but a lot of it is – tax avoidance by large corporations, for instance, and a completely silent scene of a (presumably spoof) reality television show where the audience watches people stood quietly listening to podcasts. Suitably chaotic, this show has something for almost everyone to chortle at.

4 stars

Review by Chris Omaweng

Celebrating its 40th anniversary, NewsRevue is back with a flawlessly delivered comedy round-up of this year’s news. From a royal car crash to a political car crash, it’s been quite a year and it isn’t only Brexit dominating our headlines! We’ve witnessed unlikely duets from Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga to President Trump and Kim Jong-un, the birth of another Royal Baby and the end of the world (or is it?) in the Avengers. There’s a lot to fit into an hour.

With director Samuel Hopkins once again at the helm and an onstage Musical Director, this show offers the perfect antidote to the apocalypse that is unfolding around us.

Director Samuel Hopkins
Cast Althea Burey
Maya-Nika Bewley
Brett Sinclair
Christian James

Twitter @newsrevue, @followthecow

NewsRevue 2019
Underbelly George Square (Udderbelly), Edinburgh, EH8 9LD
Thursday 1st – Monday 26th August 2019 (not 13th), 18:10
http://www.underbellyedinburgh.co.uk/

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