10 August 2008
Year-in, year-out, Newsrevue is a staple of my festival and always provides a good, solid 8 out of 10. There is, however, always an exception to the rule and this year's show is it. Every year I've watched them and this is the weakest year so far. The venue was a poor choice to start with, we were four rows back and struggled to see the lower 1m of the stage. It was probably as bad as when they played in the Odeon - why they moved from Adam House (the C Venue) is beyond me! The opening half hour was a complete right off. Poorly written gags and irrelevant sketches that just weren't funny or far too predictable to even warrant a smile. I hate quoting routines but to demonstrate the depths they sank to, here is a very quick sketch: "I'd like a tank of petrol for my BMW. You'd like a tank of petrol for your BMW? Yes. Okay, that sounds like a fair swap". Tired, old and not topical any more. It wasn't just me, there were several sketches that got minimal laughter or applause out of a 200+ audience. Then, when I'm ready to go to sleep for the remaining half hour, they do a sketch about Gordon Brown's dream which is a mix of Shakespearean plays, suggesting that Gordon's Premiership is a Shakespearean farce. My eyes light up and the clever switching from memorable gag to clever pun. Straight after this, they do two songs that are actually topical and match up with the music (unlike the earlier ones) - one regarding knife crime and the other about the Fritzl children. Sadly we drop down to mediocrity again until the final piece, a Meatloaf medley that lasts as long as any Meatloaf song, containing George Dubya, Hilary and Barack. It works very well and it is a strong close to the show. Four good segments in an hour long show is quite a poor return but they were of a respectable length and three of them were set to music. It's a shame it says latecomers will not be admitted as you could make a decent show of it if you skip the first half hour. With them it just manages to grab the a 7 out of 10. They will be better next year, this is definitely just a slip.