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Wendy Rose: Ring in the new year with Revue

Rising Tide Theatre brings its wit back to the stage Friday at the St. John's Arts and Culture Centre as it begins a provincial tour for "Revue 2017."
Rising Tide Theatre brought its wit back to the stage at the St. John's Arts and Culture Centre Friday as will off on a provincial tour in the coming weeks.

Newfoundlanders and Labradorians are a passionate group of people, often romanticizing the past. From resettlement, to the moratorium and on through today, our past shapes our present, and our future — who we are as a people, and how we will continue to survive on this rock.

The province’s people are also jokesters, pranksters, and leg-pullers, and we always manage to make each other laugh, throughout it all.

2017 was a weird and wild time for the province, as we travelled through the year dealing with Carbonear’s DIY circumcisions, Merb’ys going viral worldwide, Interac-infused collection plates, airport kitchen parties, being celebrated on Broadway, the disarray of “Dannyland”, UFOs on South Side Hills, and so much more.

Provincial politics was enthralling as usual, and we said goodbye to a number of prominent local politicians, welcomed five women into city council, and remained glued to the news as our premier became entangled in a murder investigation.

Chock-full of strange times, all of these bizarre circumstances and situations made for perfect material for the 2017 Revue show, which opened at the Arts and Culture Centre in St. John’s on Jan. 12.

Director Donna Butt condensed a full year into 2.5 hours, tasking Rick Boland, Tina Randell, Berni Stapleton, Amelia Manuel, Michael Power, and Jim Payne to play dozens of roles that embodied the past 12 months onstage.

Look forward to skits based on: the Fogo Island Fluevog shoe, the plastic bag ban, fidget spinners, changes at VOCM, Sears closing, the Brier and Brad Gushue, the DFO smelt sting operation, NTV’s Ross Tilley, aliens visiting the island, Muskrat Falls, the cell service outage of last August, Fitbits, superheroes, resettlement, and of course, the impending legalization of marijuana.

Delivering innumerable skits, the six actors impressed the audience with versatility, and lightning-fast costume changes.

With so much material to cover, here are a couple of topics explored in Revue 2017, to give potential audience members an idea of what to expect during Revue’s provincial tour.

Look forward to skits based on: the Fogo Island Fluevog shoe, the plastic bag ban, fidget spinners, changes at VOCM, Sears closing, the Brier and Brad Gushue, the DFO smelt sting operation, NTV’s Ross Tilley, aliens visiting the island, Muskrat Falls, the cell service outage of last August, Fitbits, superheroes, resettlement, and of course, the impending legalization of marijuana.

Former and current politicians such as Steve Kent, Cathy Bennett, Judy Foote, Dwight Ball, Leo Puddister, Ches Crosbie, Justin Trudeau, and Earle McCurdy were all on the roster to roast.

As usual, toilet humour and dirty jokes got the most laughs. Apparently, baby boomers generally enjoy this particular vein of humour, as evidenced by their raucous laughter.

One joke about Vienna Sausages — “Who knew something so small could be so satisfying?” — landed well with the audience, as did a seniors’ yoga class ruined by flatulence.

Still, the vast and diverse subject matter catered to many tastes in humour.

I was extremely pleased to see that casual misogyny and sexism were really dialled back in this show — in fact, this Revue was truly empowering to women, celebrating women on council, damning casual sexism, the #MeToo movement, the necessary dismantling of the patriarchy, and more, including a hot monologue delivered by Jim Payne about how men need to “do better” — and how we need negative influence Donald Trump out of office, and out of the media.

This was especially awesome to me, a staunch feminist who generally takes issue with a lot of “edgy” comedy.

I left the show feeling positive about writing the review of Revue, looking forward to what 2018 has in store for next year’s script.

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