15 August 2009

Newsrevue: 30th Anniversary

Six years ago I saw Newsrevue's 25th Anniversary show (when they entered the Guinness Book of Records for longest running live comedy show) and they were very good, topical and funny.  Over the years they have had some very famous alumni since their first show almost 30 years ago to the day, August 18th to be exact.  It's a real shame that I have to write this review as they no longer have "it".  Over the last couple of years they have slid further and further downhill until they end up with this year's show.  The first half hour was bereft of humour, something they've been moving towards in recent years.  As anyone fule no, you have to start with a few strong gags and then you can move to lesser material before finishing with a flurry.  You can't expect to bore an audience with 30 minutes of 6th Form level comedy and keep them interested (Just to be clear, that's the writing I'm criticising, not the performing and singing which was good). As such there were several routines that go zero or close-to-zero applause.  Overall there wasn't a single laugh out loud moment and only a few mild chuckle moments. Only two of their songs were even slightly clever satire.  To top all the disappointment, their best gag my a mile, a song about the railways, was completely out-of-date and irrelevant mainly because they performed it five years ago and have started re-using older material. Shame on you!  Your material is supposed to be from the last year only, even your 30 year review songs at the start and finish were both written this year.

Some people have tried to defend them saying they are in bad taste and you just don't get it but in truth you would only think that if you survive on a diet of exclusively BBC1.  It is one of the safest shows on the Comedy Festival and has been year in year out.  It's sad but even at half price (Friend of the Fringe) I don't think the show is worth it.  The cost of two full price tickets would more than pay for a full annual subscription to Private Eye and one edition of that would give you four times the satire and humour in this entire show.  My final gripe is the fact that the show started at 18:01 (one minute late, oh no!) and ended at 18:55 on the dot.  That's 54 minutes not the 60 minutes they are advertising for!  Why should the audience not get 10% of their ticket prices if you are going to cut 10% off your show?  Flat, Unfunny and Un-Topical - 6 out of 10 or two stars (fighting with Zoe Lyons for the worst show of my Festival).