Between two Matts – an Interview with the directors of ANU Arts Revue 2016

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ANU has a long and storied history of presenting revues. What is it about the format that makes revues so popular (and so fun)?

Matt Rogers: I think it’s the variety in revues; a bit of singing, dancing and acting, all with the smattering of comedy make them really delightful.

Matt Barton: I think the best thing about the revue is the fact that it is student written and performed. It means you get to see what some of the funniest minds on campus can come up with in a couple of months. What makes a revue exciting and fun is the fact that the audience have no idea what to expect. They have no idea what the tenor of the humor will be, what the cast will make fun of, and whether or not they will be forcibly removed from their seat by a nude cast member.

On a similar note, do you feel a sense of competition with ANU’s other revues?

Matt R: I’ve been involved in Arts Revue for the past three years and there have always been feelings of both camaraderie and friendly competition with the other revues. Competing perhaps, over who gets dibs on a particular song to parody, or idea for a joke.

Matt B: Well, to feel competitive would imply that we actually have competition in the first place. *Tips fedora and sips third dirty glass of $6 sauvignon blanc.*

2016 has bordered on the ridiculous at times, from Harambe to Trump. Are there any special moments that stand out for you?

Matt R: I think Shinzo Abe dressed up as Mario for the closing ceremony at Rio was a real highlight of the year.

Matt B: This is a really tough question. I would say that the most special moment for me in 2016 was the time I managed to hand in a philosophy essay before it was due. This is closely followed by a dream where I had a $2.50 basic from UniPub and it didn’t taste like methylated spirits potent enough to cause you to get in a fight with a belligerent man called Cory from Woden, and make out with a third cousin.

How do you turn these moments into comedy gold? What’s the writing process for the Arts Revue?

Matt R: It’s hard to lay down a formula really. Typically, we’ll throw ideas around the room and try to make each other laugh. If we remember to write it down. Bam. Comedy gold (your words not mine).

Matt B: According to no clinical research whatsoever, alcohol and illicit drugs are perfect stimulants for the satirical writing involved in an Arts Revue. For a lot of skits with dear Pauline, we didn’t need to do much writing at all because she already has so many crackers. Australia under threat from being swamped by Asians and Muslims? What a comedian!

You’ve set your sights firmly on Pauline Hanson this year, a representative of some very serious issues in society. Are there any topics that are off-limits in the show?

Matt R: We talked a lot about what would be considered ‘too far’. This year pushes more of those buttons than any revue I have been in previously, but the aim is never to be ‘controversial’ for its own sake. People have already said to me that they aren’t sure One Nation should be used as comedy material because of these serious issues. I respect that view. At the same time, however, part of what makes comedy a great outlet is that it can be a little confronting at times, and I celebrate that.

Matt B: In a nutshell, no – but Taylor Swift and Tom Hiddlestone’s relationship does come pretty close to being off-limits. The Hiddleswift ought never be touched by a revue.

Lastly, when can I see the show?

Matt R: The show is playing each night from Wednesday the 21st (September) to Saturday the 24th. It kicks off at 8pm at the ANU Arts Centre. Tickets are available online from http://anuartsrevue.getqpay.com/ and at the door. Online ticket sales close an hour before the show starts. Tickets are $15 for students and $20 for non-students.