All repeat Fringe-goers have regular shows that they like to see every year, and with its high reputation among the comedy audience, the NewsRevue current affairs sketch show is almost guaranteed to sell out on the basis of reputation alone. It has been an annual fixture at the Edinburgh Fringe since 1979, and plays twice-weekly year round in the Canal Cafe Theatre in London. Benefiting greatly from the chance to try out new material whilst building the show, NewsRevue2016 has a slick and practiced feel, with a script that the professional writers of the News Quiz should be scared of.
With a simple 2 man, 2 woman set up, live on-stage piano accompaniment and basic costume props, the minute long sketches and rewritten popular songs feel like a cross between Mock The Week and Katy Brand’s Big Ass Show. Former NewsRevuers include the likes of Alistair McGowan and Rory Bremner, and we can be certain that we will be seeing more of the tooth-achingly talented cast of the Edinburgh Fringe run this year. Jessica Brady’s amazing voice is a particular stand out, as is Naomi McDonald’s star turn as Melania Trump.
With the focus on US and UK politics, as well as aspects of popular culture like Game of Thrones, there is fertile ground for this year’s material; Brexit, the election (both in the UK and the States), the Olympics and the Queen all get their moments. However, the punchlines themselves don’t always feel very original – Trump as an Orangutan, the USA as a gun-loving nation, these are overdone tropes that at this point in the year only elicit tired chuckles at best, as audiences have reached their saturation points with a lot of the familiar satire.
Also controversially, whilst the familiar figures of David Cameron, Nicola Sturgeon, Jeremy Corbyn and Boris Johnson make frequent and hilarious appearances, an imitation of Theresa May is suspiciously absent. This could have been a golden opportunity to try something innovative, as May is a fairly new character that audiences are likely not to have seen featured in much comedy so far, but the NewsRevue don’t take the chance – can a headline topical news comedy still call itself so if it doesn’t feature the very Prime Minister?
Ultimately still a firm favourite for many, the NewsRevue2016 follows steadfastly in the footsteps of its previous years – it’s by no means an experimental form, but upholds its reputation for being a safe comedy choice.
NewsRevue 2016 will be continuing its run at the Pleasance Courtyard until 29 August, with daily performances at 6.30pm (with the exception of 17 August, when there is no performance). You can buy tickets from the Edinburgh Fringe Box Office here, some shows are already sold out.
CAST AND CREATIVES
Director – Katie Pesskin
Musical Directors – Christopher Peake and Tom Barnes
Cast – Daniel Collard, Jessica Brady, Naomi McDonald