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Natalie Haynes: Troubled Enough
Nice Mum Are Chocolate Benders
Nicholas Parsons as WS Gilbert: A Great Victorian
Nicholas Parsons Happy Hour
Nick Revell: Bare Bones
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Nina Conti and Micky Flanagan
Nokia Orange Best of the Fest 2003
Norman Lovett and Kitty
Not Richard Belzer
Show type: Edinburgh Fringe 2003
Perrier finalist. Fringe First winner. The squad of satirical terrorists returns to parody, pillory and pulverise the people in the public eye.
Want hard-hitting, biting satire? Incisive political comedy to challenge the existing order? Well, you'd better look elsewhere.
Newsrevue is a much cosier brand of topical comedy, a glorified drawing room musical revue that gently pokes fun at the famous rather than offering any sort of agenda.
But this Fringe institution is only doing what it has always done over the 24 years it has been coming here - and doing it fantastically well, thanks to a talented and energetic young cast.
Although the performers and writers of the London-based show changes every few weeks, the formula never does, and it's become as traditional a part of Edinburgh as the tattoo, and just as staid.
Many of the sketches don't even fall into the topical. So we get to hear what Scooby-Doo would sound like having an orgasm, but there's no mention of Tony Martin, David Kelly or the dodgy dossier - items which have made more than the odd headline over the past couple of months.
One reason is that this show is a 'best of' compilation, reprising the ensemble's finest moments from the past 12 months. Newsrevue has up to 40 writers at any one time, but if this is the best of their output over a whole year, the worst must be terrifying.
Every other items is a comic song - essentially a one-joke pun stretched out for a couple a minutes ("I can see clearly now Hussein has gone," or "Monarchy!" to the tune of the Bee Gee's Tragedy) These, and the more straightforward sketches, use the same comic shorthand as Dead Ringers, Alistair McGowan, The News Quiz and any of countless other topical programmes you care to mention. It's George Bush, so he'll mangle the language; David Beckham is thick; Tony Blair is insincere; Edwina Currie is... well, five years out of date, but still getting a mention here.
This would be more forgivable in the weekly London show where the sketches were first performed, their immediacy giving hem an added kick, but when they have to stand alone, months after the event, the weaknesses are clear.
The show has plenty in its favour, not least the exuberant cast and tight direction. Some of the central puns are very good - almost as good, in fact, as the writers think they are - and the script lifts on the rare occasions it builds around a simple idea, rather than simply stating it, then repeating it.
None of this concerned the audience, who all went away happy. Who cares about the lack of bite or originality in the script, when you can go away humming one of the jaunty, catchy tunes.
To adjust your statement of Tony Martin not being mentioned in any of the sketches, there is a very funny short sketch about 30 minutes into the entertainment that focuses on Tony Martin. even though brief, extremely entertaining. Some of the sketches were dated or could be found offensive to some selected parties, but it is all a bit of harmless fun. From my own eyes i can quite honestly say that it is a rare occassion to see somebody frown at the end of a performance. This is a very talented cast who perform in a very difficult and demanding show who don't get the credit they deserve.
The test of good comedy is if it is funny. So what was that homophobic rubish that was the 'Fisting by the Pool' sketch? Funny it was not.
I didn't go away happy. Some of the tasteless jokes just left a bad taste in my mouth. Humour concerning people sending messages to their loved ones before burning to death in an aircraft or talented young actresses dying tragically is weak and shameful. I was disgusted.