Ken Longworth | Week of uni revues

LEGAL LAUGHS: The Law Revue, Clerkships: I Know What You Did Last Summer can be seen at Civic Playhouse.
LEGAL LAUGHS: The Law Revue, Clerkships: I Know What You Did Last Summer can be seen at Civic Playhouse.

TWO of this year’s student-produced University of Newcastle revues are being staged in Autonomy Week, which celebrates the university getting independent status in 1965 after being a college of other NSW universities for 14 years.

The revues highlight the talents of Newcastle University students in putting together and staging bright shows looking at many issues through comedy, song and dance.

The Uni Revue 2018, Stranger Degrees, which involves students from many faculties, will run for 55 minutes, enabling it to be staged at the large Brennan Room in the Shortland Building on the Callaghan campus during meal breaks at 12pm and 6pm from August 7 to 9. It is a free event.

This year’s Newcastle Law Revue, Clerkships: I Know What You Did Last Summer, can be seen at the CBD’s Civic Playhouse. The two-hour show has performances on August 10 and 11 at 7.30pm. Tickets, $25, student/concession $20, can be bought through Ticketek, 4929 1977.

The title Stranger Degrees refers to students who move around the Callaghan campus when the lights mysteriously go out and, while searching for lights, encounter many very different characters. In one sequence, for example, they meet a dark lord, Hippokrampus, and learn that they have to find three items, “weapons of destiny”, to get them out of the darkness which makes their degrees meaningless.

The revue features 12 actors from diverse faculties, among them science, engineering and creative industries, with a large support team. Director Rob Dilley, a Newcastle lawyer who appeared in revues while a student at the university, said 24 brisk sketches are presented between the opening and closing songs.

One, for example, is set in the headquarters of the Seven Deadly Sins, where the students encounter two of the Sins, Pain and Sloth, who, among other things, refer to Newcastle City Council as a “prestigious organisation for real sins”.

Chris Laidler and Suzy Fuller, the directors of Clerkships: I Know What You Did Last Summer, note that the title is a reference to big law firms recruiting a few clerks for the summer period, with the recipients invariably getting a job after they graduate. And the three students who get that work find themselves facing scary things, such as a beauty pageant and a dating act.

The revue, with 18 performers in 30 sketches, songs, videos and voiceovers, makes tongue-in-cheek references to things affecting students, such as the transfer of the law students to NewSpace leaving them without the delicious and inexpensive pies sold by the Callaghan Bakehouse and their search for a replacement.

There is a tongue-in-cheek royal wedding sketch, based on royal bride Meghan Markle having appeared in Suits, the TV show about lawyers.

COMEDY CLASSES

RENOWNED female comedian Mandy Nolan has been teaching comedy in her North Coast home town, Mullumbimby, for 20 years, and continues to get full houses for her workshops, generally limiting the number of participants to 10.

She’s now conducting classes in a few other centres, with two workshops and a comedy showcase set for Newcastle on Saturday and Sunday, August 11 and 12. She previously wowed a Newcastle Civic Theatre audience when she was a member of the Melbourne Comedy Festival Roadshow in 2017.

The first workshop, at the CBD’s Royal Exchange from 9am to 5pm on Saturday, August 11, will be very interactive, with Nolan showing a maximum of 10 participants how to perform their own comedy routines. The participants will return to the Royal Exchange on Sunday, August 12, to show the skills they have learnt in a Comedy Showcase. That performance will start at 7pm and is open to the public. The comedy performance workshop will include a supplied morning tea and lunch. The cost is $230. Audience tickets for the Sunday show are $15, concession/student $10.

Mandy Nolan will also conduct a comedy writing workshop on Sunday, August 12, from 10am to 6pm, at Real Coffee on Darby, 3/269 Darby Street, Cooks Hill. The $195 cost also includes morning tea and lunch. People can participate in the two workshops for a reduced cost of $385. The writing workshop will look at a number of styles, along them satire, dialogue and commentary. Bookings for the three events can be made through trybooking.com.