NewsRevue 2014

Edinburgh Festival Fringe Scotsman review (comedy): NewsRevue 2014 at Pleasance Courtyard (venue 33). Review by Martin Gray.

You know what you’re getting with this Fringe fixture – quickfire topical songs and sketches performed by a talented young cast. What you don’t know is just how they’ll tackle the biggest news stories of the past 12 months. This show opens with the National Security Agency spying scandal presented via the medium of musical theatre, specifically Cabaret.

There’s a running gag with poor, unloved Nick Clegg pleading with David Cameron to play with him to the tune of Do You Want to Build a Snowman? from Frozen.

Lists of sketches aren’t funny; watching them is, as Mimi Edwards, Matt Lee-Steer, Will Mulvey and Alice Marshall give us spot-on impersonations and delightful exaggerations. Accompanying them is musical director Michael Riley, an unobtrusive but vital part of the team, making the likes of Ra-Ra Vlad Putin swing. Some of the humour is affectionate, a little is uncomfortable, but mostly it’s good, cutting fun, with constant guffaws and giggles from the packed Pleasance Beyond.

In between the on-stage action, hit-and-run one-liners over the PA give the actors time to change wigs and grab props, and give us up-to-the-minute stuff (“Police searching Cliff Richard’s home have found something awful – plans for a new Christmas album”).

The show closes with a Les Mis take on the Scottish referendum which sees the team nail its colours to the wall. Whatever the state of the nation this time next year, let’s hope the slick, but not soul-less, NewsRevue’s independent voice continues pricking the pomposity of politicians and personalities of all hues.

Until 25 August. Today 6:30pm, more info.

Originally published in The Scotsman

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