REVIEW: Crazy, Funny, Good: The 2019 International Revue
By Mia Castagnone
Cramming assignments, living at Fisher Library, USYD Rants, boba tea, dealing with breakups and the general struggle of being a broke AF student was all brought to life on stage by the brilliant cast and crew at the opening night of the 2019 International Revue: Crazy Broke Students.
A performance of “The Greatest Show” kicked off the night however felt like a slow start from the cast whose nerves were perhaps holding them back. It was a shame because clearly the talent was there, the cast harmonised well, the dance routine was impressive, but to start the show the energy seemed to be lacking which, considering it was their opening night, I’m crediting to maybe a little stage-fright. Hopefully Saturday night’s show packs more punch.
As I mentioned, the cast was talented. Acting engaged the audience with notable performances from Sajana De Silva and Vincy Gao. The sketches made up the majority of the show and there were countless brilliant, well-thought out punchlines. Their excellence was a clear tribute to their relatability and relevance to current pop culture memes. “Boba is Life” and “USYD Rants” were notable performances, which left the audience in stitches. Without a doubt, there was endless quality content in this show. Unlike other revues, which use the convention of a common storyline that is carried throughout, director Benjamin Tang instead showcased multiple sketches tied in with musical numbers that offered many interesting themes and good laughs. When it came to stage set ups, transitions were far from smooth and lightning and music was sometimes out of sync with the show. But to the credit of the cast, when staging went wrong they played on these mistakes to a comical effect. By the end of the night I was left wanting more. The show was a long away from being dragged out, instead it was tightly crafted, hugely relatable and the theatrical talent was clearly present.
A stunning performance by choreography director Vanessa Chen and Benjamin Tang dancing to “Bad Liar” by Imagine Dragons left audiences completely taken by awe. I only wish more dances numbers had taken place. Sketches bounced between funny mimicries of pop culture to serious takes on relationship breakdowns and mental stress related to studying at university. Skits transitioned very smoothly into musical numbers and the melodic tones of Daniel Kim, Daniel Hu and Winny Li deserve much praise. Director Benjamin Tang and producers Georgia Tan and Tina Lee, who have been executives for the International Revue in previous years, deserve special mention for bringing to stage an overall fantastic show.
However, one particular skit left me a little shook. The sketch made fun of millennials obsession with taking photos of food, but this gag was ruined when the ‘boyfriend’ called his social media obsessive ‘girlfriend’ a “crazy bitch” before storming off stage and ending the skit. It was a completely unnecessary display of toxic masculinity, which simply should not have been present at all. Clearly this was something overlooked but was nevertheless disappointing to watch. Swearing was clearly a feature of the revue, what surprised me was just how much it was happening. To be honest, cursing can be used as a satirical convention and on the occasion a sudden “oh fuck” would be dropped and because you don’t expect it, it became quite funny. But it doesn’t work when swearing is overused in compensation for a lack of decent script writing. In other moments, there was trouble hearing jokes due to poor diction and delivery. I also felt the male cast sometimes drowned out the female cast, which was even more disappointing when the actress’s punchlines were far superior in humour.
Grab your mates this Saturday night, head to one of Marrickville hipster eats for dinner and catch this stellar performance.
The International Revue will be showing its final stage tonight, Saturday 13th, at The Factory Theatre. Tickets can be found here from as low as $15 with ACCESS!