Now in its 40th year, NewsRevue has become a reliable go-to production for sharp and satirical entertainment at the Fringe. Each year, two men and two women provide scathing comedic commentary on society mostly through song and dance. As you would expect, there’s no shortage of material for NewsRevue to target. From Madeline McCann to the shaky Mrs Merkel and the loaded subject of Brexit, no one is spared.
At the large Udderbelly venue, the show feels slicker and more polished than its run at the intimate Canal Café Theatre in London. Here, the size of the venue matches the size of the show and deservedly plays to a packed-out audience. NewsRevue is at its best when it takes critical aim at recent ridiculous headlines such as the idea for a Straight Pride in a smart and subtle way.
The ensemble cast, directed by Samuel Hopkins, deliver fresh jokes in sketches on hot-off the press news. The addition of the hilarious Althea Burey, a woman of colour, means that the show is even more diverse in their material selection including scenes with the newly cast Halle Bailey as Ariel in the Little Mermaid and Meghan Markle. When the show dares to touch on the subject of race, some jokes land more uncomfortably than others based on the audience’s reaction. But there’s no time to dwell on it, as following a quick costume change, we’re already on to the next scene.
The performers on stage are committed athletes. They handle the choreography, harmonies and multiple scene changes without missing a beat. Maya Nika-Bewley has a beautiful voice and her rendition of Avaca-don’t speak was wonderful. Christian James plays a believably inert Jeremy Corbyn, Althea Burey brilliantly plays a bumbling BoJo and Brett Sinclair’s outing as a boisterous moon is side-splittingly funny. They are accompanied by the talented Musical Director, Andrew Linnie, who provides playful musical interludes between each scene.
I can’t rave about NewsRevue enough. With all the news going on around us, sometimes it’s easier not to engage with the scale of disorder and chaos. But in using cutting humour, this show confronts us with the reality of the current state of affairs which is hilarious and at times horrifying.
NewsRevue is running at the Underbelly – George Square on August 4-12, 14-26 at the time of writing.
Cast: Althea Burey, Brett Sinclair, Christian James and Maya-Nika Bewley
Creatives: Samuel Hopkins (Director), Andrew Linnie (Musical Director)