Wharf Revue staple President Donald Trump pardoned a turkey the day before I saw the 20th iteration of this long-running satirical song-and-sketch show.
I find myself unable to follow Trump’s example.
There have been hits and misses in all the Wharf Revues I’ve seen to date, but Good Night and Good Luck’s pickings seem slim this year – one in which most of us have lost touch with the funny side of things.
I did snicker at a pre-recorded video segment in which New South Wales premier Gladys Berejiklian (captured by Amanda Bishop) spruiked her very own dating service, but much of the show left me untickled.
The promise inherent in the idea of Fawlty Towers as a quarantine hotel wasn’t fully realised. Drew Forsythe’s warbling of Simon and Garfunkle’s The Sound of Sirens (sic) over a video montage of near empty New York streets struck as sentimental. A Cats-inspired take on Labor Party factional warfare was plentifully furry though lacked teeth and claws.
Co-creators Jonathan Biggins and Phil Scott traded docile lines dressed as coronavirus. A TV talent quest featuring broad caricatures of Vladimir Putin, Jair Bolsonaro and North Korea’s ruling dynasty proved interminable. Bishop had NZ PM Jacinda Ardern down pat but the material she is furnished with isn’t strong enough to sustain her stage time.
Taking its title from American journalist Edward R. Murrow’s famous sign-off, Good Night and Good Luck is the last Revue produced under the Sydney Theatre Company flag. STC will miss the bucks the show brought in, no doubt, but I imagine neither party will be too sorry to sever ties after all this time, so far removed have they become in terms of content and ethos.
Will Biggins, Scott and Forsythe be back next year? I’d be amazed if they weren’t. But if the Revue is going to have another life, it will have to sharpen its attack.
This production was reviewed at the Riverside Theatres, Parramatta, November 26, 2020.