NewsRevue has become a perennially popular favourite at the Fringe, an existence which can become something of a double-edged sword when one considers the fact the Fringe’s selling point is often considered to be its encouragement and celebration of the new in performance. That doesn’t mean that everything must be new to be appreciated – the fringe is also a melting pot – however shows do have to have some sort of identity, and the fact is that the NewsRevue’s selling point is ‘the news’; something that has already happened. It isn’t a bad show, the performers are competent professionals and the music pretty good. But for a presentation of the year’s happenings, it’s just, well, a little bit unimaginative and rather tame.
The majority of the sketches are comic ideas about current affairs, and aren’t really new at all, having been used countless times over the past year in political satire across the spectrum, from The Now Show to Mock the Week. The party political broadcast which comes from UKIP is via two football supporters on a train; the Tories are evil and hate the poor; Labour are clueless and dim; and Nick Clegg struggles to get over his love affair with David Cameron. Though there are one or two really great puns, the punchlines are mostly predictable, or simply don’t happen, and there’s nothing inherently clever about most of the skits or characters.
The songs are easily the strongest bit of the show, with musical styles ranging from Disney to Country & Western, taking in an enjoyable song/rap between Prince George and Princess Charlotte in the womb and a bitingly accurate sendup of Netflix addiction along the way. I suppose you can’t really accuse the show of misrepresenting itself, because frankly it does exactly what it says on the tin; it’s an overview of the year’s major events accompanied by some singing and silly wigs, but really there’s very little to get yourself truly enthused about. It appears to be business as usual for NewsRevue, but business is straight down the road and if you’re going for the big laughs you need to be bold and have a little more gumption.
NewsRevue 2015 played at Pleasance Courtyard as part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.