The Wharf Review 2018 – Déjà Revue

Written and created by Jonathan Biggins and Drew Forsythe. Sydney Theatre Company. Riverside Theatres Parramatta, September 13 – 15, 2018, and touring.

Photo : © Brett Boardman.

The 2018 Wharf Revue is hitting the road from Parramatta – and why not? It’s the cultural hub of the West; a host of faithful followers have almost booked out the first three-nights of the tour; and Riverside audiences are more than receptive to political satire – they have a Powerhouse of puns to prove it! What better place to perfect its topical pace before the Revue makes its way to the Wharf in November via Penrith, Nunawading, Belrose, Wollongong, Canberra and Wagga Wagga!

This year’s cast no longer includes the multi-talented Phil Scott, who has been the musical muse of the team since its beginning on a makeshift set at Wharf 2 over 15 years ago. His flying fingers on the keyboard, pithy parodies and impish impressions of the longest serving prime minister since Menzies were highlights of revues past – and it doesn’t seem quite the same without him. You are missed, Mr Scott!

Jonathan Biggins and Drew Forsythe, however, remain as the indomitable backbone of the show, their political perception and unbounded energy underwriting a revue that continues to be satirically hard-hitting. They are joined this year by Rachel Beck, Douglas Hansell and musical director Andrew Worboys, in a performance that lampoons state, federal and international politics in the cleverest ways possible.

Imagine Malcolm Turnbull as a page-boy Cinderella on a pantomime set of pale pink striped canopies. Imagine Forsythe as the ugly step mother Abbott, complete with red and yellow frilly lifesaver bonnet. This ‘fairy tale’ rise to power in a panto-style sees Hansell as the dark Prince Dutton, and Rachel Beck as the immediate past PM as she tells of her fate: “Fair weather friends, That’s how it ends … Fallen from grace, Slapped in the face, Poor little me”.

This sets the pace for a scaffold of skits and sketches, not all of them political. The five performers, dressed in plastic body suits and caps, form a plastic percussion. . . . .

Review continued in Stage Whispers magazine.