The Wharf Revue – Deja Revue

The Wharf Revue – Deja Revue
By Jonathan Biggins and Drew Forsythe. Sydney Theatre Company. Roslyn Packer Theatre, Walsh Bay. Nov 13 – Dec 15, 2018

Eighteen years later and still a riot, the annual Wharf Revue has now moved across the road to the big theatre, the Roz Packer. 

And while the founding writers and creators, Jonathan Biggins and Drew Forsythe, have gained two new cast members and a new musical director, their show has lost a touch of its old home’s intimacy.  

Rachael Beck is a great musical and dancing addition; so not surprisingly music director Andrew Worboys has upped the number and pizzazz of the songs.

Douglas Hansell closely matches her talents; but both have yet to develop the hilarious mimicry of their experienced co-stars.  His beetroot-faced Barnaby Joyce, at a barn dance singing his way through crippling moral contradictions, is an exception.  And Beck’s Michaelia Cash’s Broadway-style hit against the whiteboard is a delight; as is her high-kicking Stormy Daniels (Making America Horny Again).

Indeed, Trump has quite a profile (Biggins), notably with Putin and Assad dancing through Leader for Life, deliciously trumped at the end by the old Queen (Forsythe) – and even some moving words on the responsibility of leadership.

I prefer pure satire less buried in musical jigs; hysterical is Forsythe as the language-tortured  Pauline Hanson launching her book, and Biggins as Keating lured back to show millennials what a real leader looks like.   

Deja Revue naturally starts with the Cinderella-style tale of Malcolm, A Pantomime of A Once Principled Boy, lurching through all the grotesques of Cabinet.  The show remains a highly inventive satirical treat. 

Martin Portus 

Photographer: Brett Boardman

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