Left - Amanda Bishop & Jonathan Biggins. Cover - Phillip Scott. Photos - Tracey Schramm
There should be more of this sort of thing – sharp, well-executed, intelligent and wide ranging satire. This show is an absolute winner with excellent performances and wit abounding. The Wharf Revue team consists of Jonathan Biggins, Drew Forsythe, Phillip Scott and Amanda Bishop, doing what they seem to have been born to do – taking the piss with panache and insight.
Not Quite Out of the Woods is funny, clever and hugely entertaining. You’re in the hands of professionals lampooning, and, in one sketch, harpooning (The Scientific Whalers) public figures to great effect. With references to politics, current affairs and popular culture, many of the leading personalities of the day, past and present, are given the once over. There are appearances by the likes of Piers Ackerman, Germaine Greer, Philip Adams, Media Watch’s presenter Jonathan Holmes and even David Williamson in a timely spoof of Don’s Party, given that his follow-up play, Don Parties On recently opened at the MTC. On the whole Not Quite Out of the Woods is orientated towards baby boomers, with snapshots of the above characters and others along with references to shows like The Mikado and the classic film Casablanca, but, please, don’t anyone be put off by that as it is a clever, fast moving, highly polished musically, vastly amusing show and addresses some important and relevant issues.
Amanda Bishop has found her calling by playing Julia Gillard, here as Little Red Riding Hood. (What’s in her basket? A raft of fully costed initiatives.) A take off of Dylan Thomas’s famous Under Milk Wood, along with a sung turn in Welsh-style harmonies, give us an unexpected glimpse of the reaction of the locals of Barry, Gillard’s childhood town in Wales, to her becoming ‘queen of Australia’. (She was the only nerd in the village, apparently.) Tony Abbott makes an hilarious appearance painted blue and wearing the defining red budgie smugglers as ‘The Abbotar.’ Be warned.
You can’t beat intelligent, imaginative satire which amuses, makes you think and highlights in particular the inconsistencies and downright hypocrisy of so much of politics in general. I was alert, now I’m alarmed! Here is a group of writers and performers who really deliver. The Wharf Revue is a Sydney institution and at last they've brought their show to Melbourne. Do see it.
The Wharf Revue presents
Not Quite Out of the Woods
written and created by Jonathan Biggins, Drew Forsythe and Phillip Scott
Venue: MTC Theatre, Melbourne
Dates: 5 - 29 January 2011