I had the pleasure of attending the opening night of Arts Revue: Love Capital on Wednesday. In classic arts fashion, the show’s humour was endearingly self-deprecating in all the right ways, and the references were varied and original enough to keep the ball rolling. Some skits were all too real, with scathingly accurate depictions of Sydney private school privilege and Australian bro culture, just to name a few. At certain times the crowd was laughing out of pain, *cough* free labour and ‘stupol’ shoulder tapping *cough*. At others, it was pure Glee, which I was glad to see return in multiple iterations throughout, because who doesn’t love a throwback.
The cast were exceptionally engaging and great at keeping in character throughout. Even those less comfortable singing gave it a red-hot crack and delivered on enthusiastic projection. Some impressive vocal talent was on display, with old theatre hats like Sachini Poogoda leading the way. There were more than a few ghosts of productions past showing their best on stage, including Lewis Laverty-Wilson, who was back again with a variety of accents. But there were also some exciting new faces and dynamic talents in some kickass women performers.
A huge congratulations must go to one of the tightest musical ensembles I’ve ever heard at a revue, expertly led by Patrick Haesler, commanding a huge repertoire. Well-chosen tunes set the backdrop for extremely smooth transitions, and credit must go to Bec Emder who managed to enlist the cast as her stagehands. Props (haha) must go to the tech team, who, despite some fuzzy mikes at the beginning and end, helped create a seamless show with well-timed cues.
The skits blended political, humanities and general on-campus humour to appeal to a wide audience. This meant that the show was accessible to almost anyone, rather than typecasting a typical viewer as other productions have done in the past. The choice to keep the theme generic meant that individual moments could shine and didn’t seem repetitive. Some of my favourite skits made excellent use of wordplay to deliver sharp ‘ba doom chick’ moments.
The classic references to ANU culture in the opening and closing numbers, while perhaps overdone in revues, were like warm, satisfying embraces. All the concepts were great, and while some of the more finicky dialogue didn’t quite ‘land’, the ideas were clever and genuinely funny. Some skits didn’t shy away from edgier topics, which were delivered in a sensitive and intelligent manner. The ensemble showed that they had multiple angles, but shout-outs must go to Harry Power’s hilarious facial expressions and Jonah Lafferty’s diverse character range, with a distinct Biblical theme!
Special mention goes, of course, to the dynamic directing duo of Ella Serhan-Sharp and Elroy James. Their ‘El squared’ energy had me in stitches when they gave their own unexpected, yet cracking, rendition of a classic retro hit (no spoilers though!). Producers Penny Henderson and Zoe Ranganathan had sourced a great range of costumes, and the recurring theme of red was both strategic and relevant. The choreography was purposeful and clear, if sometimes very literal.
Arts Revue: Love Capital is perfect if you want a fun night to distract you from end-of-semester misery, and a reminder that our university is full of some really cool people doing awesome things. You’ll be guaranteed a wholly enjoyable and hilarious evening of entertainment. Also, who doesn’t love a revue that finishes when it says it will? Well done, team!