The Wharf Review – Pride in Prejudice

Being a Pom, if I had seen this production advertised, I would honestly have said, “No, not for me.” I’m not interested in politics beyond the important issues, and Australian political satire is definitely not my usual wheelhouse. That said, I’m so glad I got the opportunity to see this show. I was surprised and genuinely entertained by The Wharf Revue’s pith and wonderful wit in their latest production, ‘Pride in Prejudice’.

The company romped energetically through two hours packed with songs and skits, all ripe with intelligent social commentary and a keen eye for the ridiculous. Despite the occasional slip into some Benny Hill-esque style humour, they provoked and delighted in equal measure, calling out both the hypocrisy and the difficulties of our current political landscape.

The Wharf Review - Pride in Prejudice

They deftly illuminated the prejudices we still unconsciously carry, many of which are a hangover from our colonial days. Poking gleefully at the beasts that are Australian ‘bloke’ culture, climate change, racism, the ‘Yes’ vote, sexism, inequality and many well-known government representatives in all of their ever-changing and inconsistent glory, the show was blunt, pithy and very funny. Not even Biden, Putin or the Royal Family were safe.

The cast shone, seamlessly shifting from one political player to the next, with an uncanny ability to truly bring their subjects to life. A confused elderly Joe Biden was a gem in this respect, but I would like to give a real shout out to Mandy Bishop, whose diverse vocals and comedic talent were a delight throughout but especially in the Jazzy ‘Toughen Up & Fly Right’ where she sings about the vagaries of life as Peter Dutton’s deputy, Sussan Ley.

The whole show was brilliant, but highlights would have to be Trump (played by the fabulous Jonathon Biggs) and Giuliani on the run from a chain gang, during which Trump whips out a ukulele and sings a gem of a song, ‘In the Land of Mar-a-Lago’, about Trump’s magical resort created for important people like them, in all of their misogynistic, narcissistic and ruthless beauty, which was a big hit with the crowd and made me laugh out loud.

I also cannot go past the tender song about the outcome of the recent Indigenous ‘Yes’ vote, which was lyrically poignant and movingly delivered to a slowed-down reworking of ‘Bad Moon Rising,’ and which proved that the Revue has an enormous heart as well as biting wit.

In the olden days, the role of the court jester was to highlight the folly of those in power, and every member of the Wharf Revue skilfully did this with punchy, no-holds-barred humour.

So, even if you are politically more slacktivist than an activist, go see it! Unlike Albanese, whose election promises have now been downgraded to ‘more of a values statement’, I promise you you’ll get great value from this show.

This review also appears on It’s On The House, and check out more reviews at Dark Stories Theatre to see what else is on in your town.

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