REVIEW: The 2016 Sydney Uni Revue was completely bizarre but totally hilarious
On Friday 13th, I miraculously made it to the Seymour Centre without being cursed or seeing any black cats, and despite my slight fear that I would die in a horror movie-esque situation, I walked into the theatre anticipating an amazing show. Knowing many of the cast members ahead of time from previous revues, I decided to partake in only one glass of wine, having faith in the cast’s abilities and not merely my own tipsiness to guarantee my enjoyment. What followed was nothing short of a completely bizarre and yet totally hilarious nostalgia-steeped rendition of every 90s kid’s childhood, including my own.
Cast members (left to right): Maddie Houlbrook-Walk, Ellie Jones, Jack Savage and Emily Greenberg.
Ellie Jones opened the show as the most convincing child an adult could possibly portray as she welcomed the audience to The Ungle-Bungle School Yearly Dramatacular. As the curtains opened, the stage well and truly exploded with terrifying accuracy of what walking through a primary school playground felt like in the noughties. Despite the slightly disorienting strobe lights, the audience was immediately pulled into the energy and excitement erupting from the stage for a theatrical version of #tbt - if only I’d gone to the Thursday instead of Friday show (#fbf? Flashback friday?).
The sketches were exceedingly strong, striking the perfect balance between physical comedy and wit to ensure they catered to all types of comedy and kept the audience laughing. The key to their success was undoubtedly understanding their demographic and appealing to the ten-year-old in us all. Knowing that they couldn’t go wrong with Harry Potter skit in a theatre packed mostly with Sydney University students, Issac Caroll’s Voldemort - aka. He Who Shall Not Be Named - had us in stitches when combined with Genevieve de Souza’s ingenious choreography to the Destiny’s Child classic, ’Say My Name’.
Between sketches, Victoria Zerbst’s powerful vocals summoned the basic white girl out of me like a snake charmer, as I was transported to every R&B club night I’ve attended, and made me feel the absence of my standard vodka cranberry. The band’s rendition of ‘I Will Always Love You’ was perhaps the most hauntingly beautiful cover I’ve ever heard - who knew a recorder could bless you with so many feels?
Other highlights included Maddie Houlbrook-Walk’s witty portrayal of a child politician, who held the audience in the palm of her hand as she ‘closed the gap between wall and crayon’, and Emily Greenberg’s stunning soprano vocals in one of the lengthier sketches about a loving tree ferociously being chopped down to make room for Mike Baird’s latest casino endeavour (#casinomike). Breaking the fourth wall in almost every sketch he was involved in, and even running through the audience at one point, Jack Savage was also an undeniable stand out.
The tribute to the late Elliott Miller was both beautiful and hilarious, and I couldn’t think of a better way to have opened Act Two.
The immensely talented cast compensated for the technical difficulties like professionals as the audience was thrown back into this bizarre world, which now included confetti cannons. It was slightly disappointing to see the same faces lead numerous sketches in such a talented cast; however those in minor roles were not deterred in the slightest, performing such humorous characterisations I wished I had an omniscient ability to watch every colourful character at once. The acappella number showcased the resounding voices of the singers in the cast, and despite being faced with ‘Bad Floods’, their harmonies were impeccable and pitch perfect.
You didn’t have to reach far to see the stars of this performance, the 2016 Sydney Uni Revue was a delight to watch, and I commend everyone who was a part of putting the show on stage.