Festive smorgasbord | Ken Longworth

DING DONG:  Footlice's Wicked Avon Lady of the Western Suburbs seen here doing a house-to-house over the East End.

DING DONG: Footlice's Wicked Avon Lady of the Western Suburbs seen here doing a house-to-house over the East End.

FOOTLICE Theatre Company certainly likes giving people food for thought in its Christmas revues. Last year’s was A Handful of Nuts and this year they are presenting Chocolate Chuckles – and Other Chrisy Treats.

The revue, which opens at The Unorthodox Church of Groove in Newcastle West on December 9, looks back at this year’s people and events as well as celebrating Christmas in an amusing way.

One sketch, for example, has NSW Premier Mike Baird visiting prehistoric cavemen to tell them he is selling everything in their cave.

Hillary Clinton also makes an appearance, and there is a song about Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

Footlice was formed 30 years ago by then Newcastle University students who appeared in a university revue. The company’s revues invariably include some sketches from former revues, often with just a few words changed, that show the timelessness of events and characters.

Richard Howard, who co-directs with another founding member, Lance Hawkins, said that while most of the 50 fast-paced sketches and songs in this year’s show were new, a handful of older pieces were included.

One of these, for example, The Wicked Avon Lady of the Western Suburbs, is an amusing look at the tactics of door-to-door sales people, with the title character wearing elegant witch’s garb.

And popular characters have returned. Jan Hunt, who appeared last year as Wonder Woman, is again seen as that super hero.

The revue cast also includes Fiona Mundie, Amanda Woolford, Georgia Woolford, Lance Hawkins, Jason Newell, Lorenzo Ambrose and Richard Howard, all of whom were in last year’s show. It also has the same band: Brian Birkefeld, Bill Mundie and Harry Finlay-Jones.

The revue sketches include an all-female cast version of an episode from Star Trek. There are also two sketches on aliens, one by Richard Howard that he wrote this year while working with the young writers and performers who were involved in The Other Leg, a Newcastle University revue that was the first for 20 years to include students from all faculties.

Television shows including The Bachelorette are smilingly parodied. 

A Footlice Christmas revue wouldn’t be complete without a reworked version of the song The 12 Days of Christmas to offer a summary of major issues over the past year.

Chocolate Chuckles – and Other Chrisy Treats has performances at The Unorthodox Church of Groove, 3 Tudor Street, Newcastle West (near the junction with Hunter Street), on December 9, 10, 16 and 17, at 8pm. Tickets: $20, conc $10. Bookings: 0405 154 174; footlice@gmail.com. 

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