REVIEW: Law Law Land
WORDS BY ADAM TORRES
It is fitting that Law Revue seems to be bound by precedent — each year, there exist some staple sketches that I’ve taken the liberty of listing below:
Floyd Alexander-Hunt, ukulele in tow, performing a self-deprecating song from the York Theatre’s balcony,
Hayden Tonazzi’s solo parody of a popular Broadway musical number, and
An unstoppable trio consisting of Diana Reid, Sophie Leitch, and an over-the-top European accent.
If, in the legal environment, precedent is upheld because it’s seen as the most consistent way to achieve justice, Law Revue’s adherence to precedent is rooted in the fact that it produces quality comedy.
This year’s theme, Law Law Land, piggybacks off last year’s decision to reference a film. The revue’s opening — an uninventive series of jokes about the Trump administration’s high staff turnover and a hypothetical Trump assassination — failed to fill the audience with hope as reflected by the sparsity of giggles and chortles. This uncertainty was transient, though, as a rendition of Chicago’s “Cell Block Tango” made sense of Trump’s assassination — “he had it comin’”, declared the motley crew of Meryl Streep, Queen Elizabeth II, Angela Merkel, Ivanka Trump, and Anna Della Marta’s infallible Hillary Clinton. The shift from sympathetic giggles to side-splitting laughter was an impressive turnaround, and speaks to the brilliant comedic minds that populate Law Revue’s cast. The sketch also functioned as a demonstration of the live band’s talent and of the unfailingly high calibre of the cast’s vocals and choreography.
It would be folly to attend Law Revue without expecting at least a few legal skits. This year, the cast delivered. Latifa Tee made the Australian Guide to Legal Citation sexier than even its biggest enthusiasts (read: yours truly) could have envisioned. Her pitch perfect rendition of “Quote” — sung to Madonna’s “Vogue” — reminded the audience to “cite a quote, there’s nothing to it”, and left this humble correspondent itching to do so.
A reimagining of the High Court as the High (on marijuana) Court constituted one of the night’s most successful sketches. Indeed, I hope this country’s greatest legal minds are not, like Sophie Leitch’s rendition of Justice Bell, pondering the similarities between the Constitution and rainbows when deciding the issue of dual citizenship — incidentally, an issue that provided Law Revue with not one, but two sketches.
As the High Court has been known to do, this year’s revue demonstrated a divergence from precedent in some aspects. Law Revue is no stranger to accusations of political incorrectness. However, what purported to be a concerted effort to dilute this reputation was well-received. A sketch questioning the decision to name Mel B — the Spice Girls’ only woman of colour — “Scary Spice” highlighted a newfound sensitivity and consciousness whose absence has long been a cause of revue-goers’ discomfort and anxiety.
However, a sketch about the bipartisan commitment to offshore processing (set to High School Musical’s “We’re All In This Together”) was confronting — it felt supremely uncomfortable to laugh at Julie Bishop amusedly dismissing a suffering refugee. Of course, points for trying — it’s evident that the sketch was an attempt to challenge draconian government and opposition policy, and Law Revue should be commended for this.
Lawyers make mistakes, though. Law Revue’s errors aren’t particularly high-stakes, but must be acknowledged. Just like a High Court judgment, the show dragged on far too long. Individual sketches could have been shortened, and some of the poorer sketches could have been cut.
There were a few lighting and technical errors. Special mention must go to Floyd Alexander-Hunt, who — without breaking character — summoned the crew to repair a malfunctioning keyboard before effortlessly launching into a self-penned song detailing three Disney villains’ journeys towards discovering their G-spots. In any event, though, these technical and lighting errors are ordinarily ironed out before closing night.
The well-established Law Revue tradition of placing three sketches on stage and illuminating one at a time remains frustrating. Some punchlines were evident before the sketch had started, resulting in jokes with great potential falling flat.
However, these oversights and misjudgments do not detract from the show’s sheer brilliance. Directors Diana Reid and Liz Jones provided a clear creative vision for the show, while Connor Wherrett’s AV direction ensured that even the most bizarre video sketches were hilarious. Margery Ai’s choreography was as entertaining and impressive as the acapella song parodies led by Rebecca Wong.
Never let it be said that law school is for boring, ugly, serious people. Legally Blonde got it wrong: 2017’s Law Revue proves otherwise.