Canal Café Theatre
The world's longest-running live comedy, which runs every week at London's Canal Café Theatre, returns to the Fringe for its 34th year with its pick of the satirical sketches, songs and one-liners from the past year.
As always, it is playing to packed audiences of all ages (well, adult ages anyway) and is performed by an impressively energetic and versatile cast of four plus a pianist. Its political jibes are in the form of comedy sketches and new lyrics set to well-known pop songs and show tunes linked by the occasional short verbal gag over the PA during blackouts.
As the show covers the past year in politics, some events are not bang up-to-date, but all are within recent memory, so we get an opener about the Royal baby mixed with a couple of pieces about Jimmy Saville, rather too much about the horse meat scandal and a bit about the allegations against "Kev" and "Ken" from Coronation Street. I'm not sure how many younger people in the audience would have got the Crystal Maze parody as many probably weren't born when it was originally broadcast.
There are some funny sketches, but the songs always stand out. The first is about the triple dip recession to "One" from A Chorus Line, there's a brilliant portrayal of Andy Murray as a dour Scot singing "I'm So Excited" by The Pointer Sisters, dourly. A Les Misérables medley shows Jean Valjean played by Wolverine, a Gladiator-chested, out-of-tune Javert and Fantine explaining she cried a lot to win awards. We end on a Thriller medley with Margaret Thatcher as the demonic central character.
In the past, the material in NewsRevue shows has varied from brilliantly inciteful to a bit puerile. This year, not everything hits the mark, but there are more than enough laughs in here to make it worth seeing. It stretches the boundaries of taste at times—as it should—but there's nothing too shocking this year.
The performing team of Rachael Born, Thomas Judd, Alex Pritchett and Maddie Rice give committed and impressive performances througout with Ed Bussey's piano accompaniment, all slickly directed and choreographed by Tim McArthur.
Perhaps not for those most easily shocked or who think the government is doing a really splendid job, but otherwise NewsRevue is always worth a visit in Edinburgh.
Reviewer: David Chadderton