The crowd-pleasing company from London’s Canal Café Theatre is back in Edinburgh with another show skewering current affairs and the (uneducated) experts, (fearful) leaders, and other such (ig)noble figures behind the wheels. The four cast members and one tireless pianist mocked all of 2018’s obvious candidates – the Brexit brigade (especially Theresa May), Donald (and Melania) Trump, the Hollywood of Harvey Weinstein, and those who forget their re-useable coffee flasks at home – in an all-singing, all-dancing extravaganza that blasts away the confusion of the (real and fake) news.
The satire is not gentle, nor should it be; the opening number has an unbridled apocalyptic bent, and – frighteningly and hilariously – it does not feel like an ounce of exaggeration in 2018. NewsRevue does not have the time nor the need to pull punches this year. While the details of the numbers should not be spoiled, classics of musical theatre, disco, classic rock, and modern pop are revised with a razor-sharp wit. Standouts include a running gag regarding reusable cups, multiple Putins, and Jack Mosedale’s pitch perfect Theresa May.
There is no agenda or hidden message presented while skewering presidents, MPs, and tech-addicted millennials – these people have said and done some rather ridiculous things, so it seems only appropriate to mercilessly mock these and milk them for the laughs hidden beneath real life’s terror and disappointment. On that note, some of these laughs are tinged with discomfort as the situations presented – for instance, along the US-Mexico border – are genuinely horrific. But NewsRevue’s refusal to paper over more than what’s necessary to keep a comedy show’s atmosphere (relatively) light is commendable.
Last year, the company’s show – while well-executed and entertaining – suffered somewhat from current affairs moving too damn fast for the company to spoof with any meaningful timeliness, even on the opening weekend; this year, however, the skits and jokes land with the right strength and timing (both in terms of comic delivery and world news). 2018 is most definitely not more sedate than past years, so it is a testament to the group’s drive, innovation, talent, and quick thinking that this production’s bite is as brutal and timely as it is.
NewsRevue has been the Guinness Book of World Record’s longest running live comedy show since 2004; years later, it shows no sign of slowing its pace or taming its takedowns of the today’s esteemed world leaders. It is truly a highlight of the 2018 Fringe Festival and not one to miss.
NewRevue plays at Underbelly George Square at 13.30 daily (except Wednesday 15th August) until Sunday 26th August. Tickets cost £16.50 (£15.50 concessions) and are available on the EdFringe website.
Producers: Canal Café Theatre / Emma Taylor
Director: Samuel Hopkins
Musical Director: Mike Turnbull
Cast: Susannah Austin, Philipa Carson, Jacob Jackson and Jack Mosedale