Wednesday, October 24, 2018


Written and created by Jonathan Biggins and Drew Forsythe
Musical Director: Andrew Worboys
Sydney Theatre Company
The Playhouse, Canberra Theatre Centre to November 3

Reviewed by Len Power 23 October 2018

You can’t help but compare each year’s ‘The Wharf Revue’ with the previous years’ shows.  This year’s show was one of the best due to its consistently clever script, great singing and hilarious, finely-judged performances.  It’s a pity that Drew Forsythe was not available to perform but his presence was still felt in the scripts.

Much of the music was well-known theatre tunes with nifty new lyrics for the occasion.  The cast are all good singers so they handled these with ease, making sure the lyrics could be clearly heard.

After being warned about ‘audience bullying’ in his opening remarks, Jonathan Biggins made way for a ‘Cinderella’ pantomime in which Rachael Beck was principal boy, Malcolm, singing ‘Poor Little Me’ and Douglas Hansell was a spot-on Prince Charmless (Peter Dutton, who else?)  Jonathan Biggins and Andrew Worboys were the Dames and Simon Burke was the Fairy Godmother (Christopher Pyne, of course).

Rachael Beck and Douglas Hansell

The rest of the show was in the usual revue format.  Rachael Beck gave us a brilliant Gladys Berejiklian, singing ‘I’ll Build A Light Rail To Kensington’ and Douglas Hansell was hysterical as Barnaby Joyce with ‘My Aussie Roots Are Haunting Me Today’.  Jonathan Biggins was a standout with his Paul Keating presentation.  In both character and writing this was a tour-de-force.  His Donald Trump was, as always merciless and Simon Burke was a great Vladimir Putin as well as the Queen.

Jonathan Biggins
Amongst the many politicians who were given the treatment, Michaelia Cash and Sarah Hanson-Young were memorable and, from overseas, Silvio Berlusconi, Vladimir Putin, Stormy Daniels and Melania Trump got a serve, too.

Andrew Worboys’ musical direction and accompaniment was masterful and designer, Charles Davis, gave us a clever traditional pantomime set that was easily changed for the revue sketches.  Technicals including light, sound, costumes and wigs were all excellent.

This was a bright, fast-paced show with clever scripting, larrikin Australian humour and great performances.  It definitely is one of the best.

Photos by Brett Boardman

Len Power's reviews are also broadcast on his 'On Stage' performing arts radio program on Mondays and Wednesdays from 3.30pm on Artsound FM 92.7.