NewsRevue was first performed in London in 1979 and has been running continuously ever since, gaining a Guinness World Record for the longest-running live comedy show. The show is performed in London throughout the year, with the cast, director and musical director changing over every six weeks, and material being updated every week. It’s now in its 38th year at the Fringe, so my expectations were very high. I was not disappointed.
Four actor/singers and an on-stage musical director perform covers of popular songs, with the traditional lyrics swapped out for political satire. Performers are disguised as celebrities and politicians with cleverly minimal costumes, managing to completely convey their intended subject with just a wig or a coloured tie. The high-energy singing and dancing is interspersed with a few short audio sketches delivered through voiceover, nicely alternating the pace of the show.
The material mainly focuses on British politics, as well as some major global news. As with every political comedy at the Fringe this year, the inevitable starring roles are given to Brexit, Donald Trump and Theresa May’s fields of wheat. Refreshingly though, NewsRevue 2017 also includes material about other subjects, giving the audience a break from these over-done themes.
It's incredibly well-written. Every major name from this year’s headlines is ruthlessly and hilariously ridiculed, from Katie Hopkins to Vladimir Putin to the DUP. The razor-sharp wit of the writers is beautifully matched by the incredible talent of the performers, all four of whom show off outstanding singing, dancing and mimicry.
The choreography is impressive, but one of the only two noticeable flaws was that the dancers were occasionally out of time with one another. The other was that during particularly vigorous numbers their singing was a little out of breath. These were minor blips, though, in an otherwise faultless performance.
A genius positive spin is put on a very serious topic in order to end the show on a positive, uplifting note. I cannot remember ever having been sadder to see the performers come forward for their bows at the end; if there’s anything the too-short hour taught me, it’s that Brexit means Brexit, and NewsRevue 2017 means an hour of pure joy.