The fact is that going to see shows can be a bit of a punt- and on more than a few occasions I have found myself driving to a venue wondering whether it would not be better to turn back home, make a cup of coffee and put on the telly.
There are very few shows in the theatre year that are ‘sure things’. The Sydney Theatre Company’s annual Wharf Revue show ranks as one of them. Every year, since the show’s inception in the Olympic year, co-creators- Jonathon Biggins, Drew Forsythe and Phillip Scott, put on a terrifically entertaining show.
For the first time in the revue’s history Scott is not at the piano, replaced by Andrew Worboys, who is more than an adequate replacement. Biggins and Forsythe are joined on stage by the wonderful Amanda Bishop and another great music theatre performer, Simon Burke.
The madcap energy and sense of fun that the four performers generate over the course of the show’s ninety minutes is something to behold. All are in great voice, and the comic timing is spot on. Garbs and wigs are exchanged at break-neck speeds.
As well as all the skits taking place on stage, the audience is also entertained by pre-filmed clips that are flashed on a large video screen. With each year these clips, over which plenty of time and preparation has taken place, just get funnier and better.
The show’s formula over the years has been a simple one. Essentially, the Wharf Revue works like a Year in Review cabaret with the talented trio devising skits around news stories and people in the public eye, especially pollies.
This year’s show sees appearances by many old favourites including Kevin Rudd, Julia Gillard and Bob Carr, even extending back to Paul Keating and Bob Hawke. There is also a cavalcade of new characters that grace- perhaps that is not the right expression- the stage including Eddie Obeid, Clive Palmer, Gina Rinehart and Ian Macdonald. In one of the show’s highlights, Amanda Bishop appears as Annabel Crabb in a spoof of her popular meet the pollie in the kitchen tv show.
Recommended, the Wharf Revue 2013 show, rather unimaginatively titled WHOOPS!, is playing Wharf 1, Sydney Theatre Company, until Saturday December 21, 2013.