Theatre Review: The Wharf Review

This is an incredibly amusing production providing a refreshing take on what is normally bleak and depressing political news

This is an incredibly amusing production providing a refreshing take on what is normally bleak and depressing political news

Presented by: Soft Tread

Reviewed: 8 April, 2024

This skit-style show is almost entirely filled with political satire, jokingly pushing against the “wokism†of the left, while pointing out the ridiculousness and hatred of the right, and capturing the divisive, and caricatured personalities of both Australian and international politicians, alongside controversial public figures and billionaires (mimicking real life), with plenty of pop culture references thrown in.

For those who stay politically informed and up-to-date with the news, there is plenty to enjoy and to naughtily laugh at, while those who are less well informed will find many jokes going over their heads, and see them wishing that they had paid more attention to the news of late. The show does also at times hark back to political history and past national and international leaders, so those in younger generations without the historical political knowledge may also miss out on laughs here and there.

The Wharf Revue humorously fit these real-life newsworthy situations, carefully-scrutinised relationships, jaw-dropping public antics and more into a variety of both Australian and international pop culture situations, making the critiquing of the political or public figures in the skits even more palatable. Their comedic victims include a constantly-frowning Gina Reinhard and a red-faced Clive Palmer playing out the loved-up coal couple in a hilarious Titanic-remake, and a dueting Anthony Albanese and Caroline Kennedy discussing America-Australia relations within a flamboyant South Pacific musical number. Even our favourite nostalgic kids show Playschool gets a new, and slightly depressing, interpretation through hosts Independent Senators Jacqui Lambie and David Pocock.

The impersonations, as expected from The Wharf Revue, are top-notch, with the actors brilliantly embodying an amazing array of big, bold and controversial personalities throughout the night, and seamlessly jumping from one to another. An especially fun duet impersonation is that of a sweaty Rudy Giuliani and the frowning, frumpy Donald Trump as they wade through Florida swamps post-prison break and make their way to the magical Republican stronghold of the Mar-a-Lago Club.

A slower, more emotional moment – and really the only one that the audience stays hauntingly silent for – sees the cast come together on the stage to sing lyrics that describe the controversial recent Voice Referendum and it’s disappointing ‘No’ result to the famous tune of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s Bad Moon Rising. This is a touching reminder that, although there is a lot that can be joked about within the political landscape, at some point you do have to acknowledge and give thought to the harm and devastation that has occurred for petty political gain.

The stage is bare for most of the night as the actors move through various skit scenes, but occasionally props are utilised to keep things visually interesting. A live piano player, and at one point accompanying jazz instruments, at the side of the stage is a great addition to keep things feeling fresh. This live performance is intertwined with pre-recorded music that occasionally plays upon the large screen at the back of the stage, such as when the opening title sequence of hit Netflix show The Crown plays, before Charles is confronted by his dysfunctional family’s still-arguing ghosts.

Although not for all, those with some knowledge of politics and current world affairs will find the over-the-top camp silliness in Pride in Prejudice to be incredibly amusing, with the show providing a refreshing take on what is normally bleak and depressing political news.

Reviewed by Georgina Smerd

Photo credit: supplied

Venue: Dunstan Playhouse, Adelaide Festival Centre
Season: 8 – 13 April, 2024
Duration: 1 hour and 45 minutes (no interval)
Tickets: $71.40

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