Closing out an epic 20-year run, outlasting six prime ministers and countless political gaffes, Riverside Theatres will present the premiere of Sydney Theatre Company’s The Wharf Revue: Good Night and Good Luck, as Jonathan Biggins, Drew Forsythe and Phillip Scott say farewell to the Wharf Revue from 26th-28th November.
It’s great to have the Wharf Revue team back again at this time a much larger venue, the Roslyn Packer Theatre, as a result of the current refurbishment taking place at the Wharf complex
The jokes kept coming as did most of our favourite characters. Malcolm Turnbull and the coup, with all the main players portrayed, was the first political skit. Turnbull saying, ‘Should I take the Lodge. You mean downsize!’
There was a skit with allusions to ‘Stomp’ about the way plastic has taken over our lives.
Our premier Gladys Berejiklian got her own skit which could have been a little tougher!
The Harvey Norman stores received a serve with their absolutely no interest campaigns-don’t miss this opportunity campaigns!
Barnaby Joyce made an appearance singing a country and western song saying he doesn’t do private interviews for free….
Drew Forsythe came on as a neatly coiffured Pauline Hanson with a bright pink jacket promoting her book ‘Pauline Hanson In Her Own Words’’. Forsythe had the audience in stitches as she addressed her concerns about Muslims conjugating everywhere, as well as her sideswipe at David Oldfield- ‘he is a much bigger fraud than I am!’
The Greens got a look in with a manic Sarah Hanson-Young making an appearance with the inimitable Bob Brown saying the Greens leader Richard Di Natale looks like a Wiggle!
Jonathan Biggins turn as former Prime Minister Paul Keating was a big highlight and again had the audience in stitches. Plenty of razor sharp observations followed. ‘Australians don’t know what a real leader looks like any more…You shouldn’t say Scott Morrison and leader in the same sentence.’ ‘Tony Abbott is the only man in history to bring down four governments, including the one he led!’ ‘Bill Shorten is as popular as diarrhoea’.
After this, it wasn’t long before Biggins came back, transformed into President Donald Trump. There was byplay about Trump’s sacking of his national security advisors. Trump’s obsession with Twitter was well portrayed. Drew Forsythe came on stage and joined him in various guises playing sparring partners, Silvio Berlusconi, Vladimir Putin and even the Queen. There was a bit of serious satire thrown in with the Queen all about ruling with dignity whilst Trump was all about ego and roughshod leadership..
There was even some byplay between the Queen and Prince Philip thrown in with an aside by the Queen about her husband (off-stage) ‘I’ve been trying to balance his medications for fifty years now’ which brought laughter.
These were just some of the highlights from this year’s Wharf Revue, an annual treat on the Sydney theatre scene. It was sad that Phil Scott is no longer part of the team. His absence was felt but the Revue team is still going strong. Biggins and Forsythe were in great form, their impersonations were spot on, the makeup, wigs and costumes were all good, and the pacing was excellent. They were supported by a trio of fine performers, Douglas Hansell, Andrew Worboys and Rachael Beck who helped with portraying other characters as well as contributing some flashy show/cabaret numbers.
The clowns are in good form. Try and catch the show if you can. The Wharf Revue is playing at the Roslyn Packer Theatre until 15 December 2018.
They ask nothing of us. No requirement for any depth of domestic political knowledge, no necessity to immerse in the Sturm und Drang of geopolitical border drawing and you don’t really even need to have a sense of humour either. They do it for you, all of it… THE WHARF REVUE 2018: DÉJÀ REVUE is an exercise in melding the patently obvious with the precisely targeted. And it begins with some spectacular scarlet pantos and a very early “there’s always a fucken smartarse!”
Despite his stunning velveteen fairy-tale-time suit, Buttons is a seriously cranky-pants host who knows his audience and is not afraid to insult them… An hilarious beginning to tell the story of a Turnbullella who has lost his way until he drops something important at the ball. The show will continue in panto mode, peppered with locals, for a while. That is until a ripper of a scene change when a whole wide world of lampoon opens up to our embrace. Continue reading WHARF REVUE 2018: DÉJÀ REVUE→
Sydney Theatre Company’s production, THE WHARF REVUE, 2018, will kick off this year at Riverside Theatres from 13th to 15th September before touring across NSW, VIC and ACT.
Written and created by Jonathan Biggins and Drew Forsythe, THE WHARF REVUE 2018 will present another glorious year of political satire – keeping the nation’s political and cultural leaders on their metaphorical toes!
Biggins and Forsythe will be joined on stage by Rachael Beck (Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, TV’s It Takes Two and Hey Dad…!) and Douglas Hansell (TV’s Critical and Underbelly).
The Guide had the chance to chat with Jonathan about what we can expect.
The revue starts with Bob Hawke greeting the audience with, “If any silly old bugger has their phone on turn it off. Where do I send the bill?” The audience sees an ancient Roman backdrop and the cast dressed in togas launch into a Wharf Revue version of ‘Anything Goes”. It has the usual sharp lines we expect from the talented team. With reference to recent political events and Shakespeare’s ancient Rome we hear about the disillusionment trigger and how a knife in the back is quicker.
Toga clad Ericus Abetzus leads the hard right conservative conspirators and a discussion about how to deal with the mighty Emperor of Wentworth. The clever lines come thick and fast. We hear how Jesus delivered a TED talk on the mount and Dutton dressed as lamb gets a mention.
Written and created by Jonathan Biggins, Drew Forsythe and Phillip Scott, The Wharf Revue delves into the richly rewarding world of Federal politics to take the daft things our leaders have said and emphasise their ridiculousness and to twist the seemingly reasonable into fertile humorous material. They also throw in corny puns, clever puns, bawdy humour and some excellent musical numbers to entertain and amuse the crowd. Continue reading THE WHARF REVUE 2016 ‘BACK TO BITE YOU’ @ THE RIVERSIDE PARRAMATTA→
The Wharf Revue 2015 is back to its sharp, biting satirical best, and for added entertainment they have included literary humour, opera, musicals, pop, jazz and the crude and the vulgar.
Jonathan Biggins, Amanda Bishop, Drew Forsythe and Phillip Scott all perform wonderfully as a diverse range of characters. The show seamlessly jumps between live and video segments keeping up a constant flow of entertainment. The music and musical performances round out a thoroughly enjoyable production.
Prostitution as a means of empowering women is a contentious notion even now, let alone in 1893 when MRS WARREN’S PROFESSION was written by Dublin-born social reformer George Bernard Shaw (who also wrote PYGMALION). No wonder it was banned from being performed in the UK by the Lord Chamberlain’s Office (a power which the office had until 1968); and that Sydney Theatre Company’s Artistic Director Andrew Upton describes the play as a ‘very modern’ one.
The profession of Mrs Warren (beautifully played by a loud and blowsy Helen Thomson) is that of brothel owner, and it is a lucrative one that has allowed her personable daughter Vivie, recently graduated from college, to lead a comfortable life. To date anyway…
The play opens in a sunlight garden, the backdrop of which is a high, cream-coloured wall dappled with thousands of pink and red rose-like blooms, its idyllic summery atmosphere a tribute to the set design skills of Renee Mulder and the lighting expertise of Nigel Levings.
In this garden Vivie is studying her law books when the first of a succession of single men enters, a middle-aged chap called Praed (Simon Burke), who is a friend of Vivie’s mother. Before long they are joined by Mrs Warren and Sir George Crofts, a late middle-aged buffoon. Much banter ensues. And then Frank Gardner (Eamon Farren), the spendthrift son of the local rector (Drew Forsythe) arrives.
Frank initially comes across as a harmless Wodehousian fop but becomes increasingly obnoxious and irritating — and a good shot to boot — almost to the extent of hindering one’s enjoyment of the play. Thankfully he is offset by Vivie, played in a delightfully feminine way — albeit in a slightly bookish and stilted late Victorian manner — by Lizzie Schebesta. Sir George too is not what he initially seems, and reveals a calculating, black heart convincingly played by Martin Jacobs. Thanks to Vivie’s steely determination of purpose however, some morality is finally imposed on an immoral world in the closing scene.
Veering dangerously close to farce at stages — Vivie is romantically pursued by three of the four principal characters and the other has had a fling with her mother; while Vivie’s paternity is the source of much ribald speculation — there are plenty of laughs to be had, mainly before the interval. There are probably one or two too many lengthy monologues for the liking of some, but not enough to spoil a vivacious evening’s theatre directed with as light a hand as the script allows by Sarah Giles.
MRS WARREN’S PROFESSION opened at the Sydney Theatre Company’s Wharf 1 Theatre on Tuesday 19th February and runs until Saturday 6th April. Due to popular demand there is a return season, at the same venue, between Thursday 4th and Saturday 20th July, 2013.
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