If the world as we knew it did come to a sudden end there is evidence (please don’t expect a citation) to suggest that each of us would see our life flash by in a series of random memories; our addictions, our mistakes, our finest moments, our heroism, our hypocrisy, our cruelty, the significant and the mundane…and then?
Lights up! There’s always comedy to get us through the toughest times – like not knowing whether or not “we’ve actually died” or else finding we’ve lived to regret that we never did all the things we meant to do with our lives; like “learning to juggle” or “making toast and avocado for brunch”. Saved by a keyboard-stand, and fortunately a keyboard with singing pianist, the ensemble of ten cast members are roused from their melancholy into a little soft-shoe shuffle and slick sketch-comedy.
Well done Monash Comedy Law Revue (MCLR), you had me right there with you from the get go and, because the entire audience had to walk across the fully lit stage to their seats, we thereby entered into a contract of implied authority in fulfilling our role as spectators; our tickets providing the express authority to bind the company to entertain us – and that’s as close as we got to the dryness of contact law, or any other areas of law (uncited).
No set, minimalist costume and props, the MCLR launched its explosive social commentary with an arsenal of characters in topical situations: from the politics of the threat of nuclear war, terrorism and the world’s leaders, to the politics of the priority seat in a met train. The show was exhaustively (not exhaustingly) thorough; no current theme got off without cross-examination and exposure of its misdemeanours. The script reflected a rigorous and industrious approach; the direction and production values were tight and clean; and the energetic and talented cast delivered it with consistent and authentic commitment across all six nights at the packed venue, Chapel off Chapel.
The fast-paced show covered a lot of ground and shouted the audience to a shameless masterclass in non-naturalistic theatrical conventions; what better way to comment on legless patrons at a nightclub than to make them all armless or to use iambic pentameter for AFL footy commentary. From surfing the Pakenham line to some crazy big Tsunami sets, the characters portrayed altered states of existence. Spoilt-brat-rock-stars, golden toilets, incestuous muso-duos, an angry Scotsman auditioning for our iconic Aussie film, The Castle, a baby-snatcher called “Bill” and a well-known host of too many radio and television shows to mention (named Eddy)… co-exist in this riot of a show.
When reality is suspended, the mid-life crisis occurs at quarter-life and the husband leaves his wife for the flirty waitress and his wife’s flirty sister; neither of whom, he finds, were serious or even interested…which may be more real than not? But wait, a father kills Christmas, a chef kills the last of a species for a carnivore diner, horse-people are discriminated against, and issues around loneliness, boundaries, substance-abuse and psychosis, take us by stealth and make us roar with laughter while we get the message at our very core.
The Monash Comedy Law Review was well worth the cost of half a dozen campus coffees. It was so snappy it crackled and popped from beginning to end. It was on from 22nd to 27th August, so if you missed it, you missed a hoot of a show. Someone once said, “One day your life will flash before your eyes. Make sure it’s worth watching” and the MCLR’s Last Revue Before the War was just that; a flash of brilliance worth watching!