Sunday, 12 June 2016

NewsRevue Dramaturgy: Emma Taylor @ Edfringe 2016

Guinness World Record-breaking, Fringe First-winning, Perrier finalist, news-based song and sketch show NewsRevue is back.
Pleasance Courtyard (Beyond), 60 Pleasance, Edinburgh, EH8 9TJ Wednesday 3rd – Monday 29th August 2016 (not 17th), 18:30

Although NewsRevue is a Fringe stalwart its content changes all the time, reflecting the very latest world events; the Edinburgh show is a highlight of this year’s news so expect the very best of British satire. From Trump’s Tweets to the EU Tango, politicians and celebrities alike come under fire in a turbo-charged barrage of bladder-threateningly funny songs and sketches brimming with punchlines.

What was the inspiration for this performance?

I am inspired each and every year to come back to Edinburgh with NewsRevue.  Obviously news and current events inform the content of the show but the true inspiration comes from the endless imagination of the writers and the performers to create such clever and funny song parodies and such a vast array of sketches that range from astute political comment to, well knob gags basically, some of which are handed on a silver platter. Pigs? 

How did you go about gathering the team for it?

The NewsRevue Edinburgh auditions, held in May each year at the Canal Cafe Theatre, is utterly nail-biting for the actors – this is where they have the chance to be cast in the Best of the Year show at the 336 seat venue Pleasance Beyond.  

We assess the performers throughout the year at our London home where the cast changes every 6 weeks and after a 12 month period aim to invite 7 female and 7 male performers to a group casting where they sing harmonies and strut their comedic wares on stage in front of the 5 strong audition panel.  This lasts around 2 to 2 and a half hours. There is usually at least one stand out performer that the whole panel agree on unanimously. Every year has its surprises though. 

How did you become interested in making performance?

I personally became interested in making the performance because producing NewsRevue in London and Edinburgh was part of the job description when I became Artistic Director of Canal Cafe back in 2001. I never expected to enjoy it so much to still be working on it today. 

 Was your process typical of the way that you make a performance?

No, NewsRevue is a unique beast. From the casting process to the way the show is put on its feet, it’s unlike any other show I work on. 

What do you hope that the audience will experience?

Unbridled laughter, sharp intakes of breath, a sense of money well spent and at least one walk out. 

What strategies did you consider towards shaping this audience experience?

After 16 years of producing the show in Edinburgh I pretty much know what tends to work with an Edinburgh audience so I work very closely with the director and the musical director in terms of overall content, openers, closers and how to nail the running order for example nothing too shocking at the top of the show. 

Do you see your work within any particular tradition?

Revue - which the OED defines as: A light theatrical entertainment consisting of a series of short sketches, songs, and dances, typically dealing satirically with topical issues  - so I guess that describes us to a tee. After 37 years of NewsRevue on the Edinburgh Fringe we are often referred to as an institution. 

The longest-running live comedy show in the world is flawlessly delivered by four outstanding performers - Jessica Brady, Daniel Collard, Naomi McDonald and Matthew Pennington - at lightning speed. They are expertly accompanied by an on-stage Musical Director, Tom Barnes, who steers this ship of laughs with a skilled piano accompaniment. 

NewsRevue’s exceptional writing, superlative performances and original takes on current affairs have made it a Fringe must-see.
18th August is NewsRevue’s official 37th birthday in Edinburgh – the city where it all began. 

Producer Emma Taylor comments, I have been producing the show in London and Edinburgh since 2001. I fell in love with NewsRevue 16 years ago and now it's part of my life. 

Throughout the year I keep a close eye on who has the potential to be shortlisted to audition for Edinburgh which is a highlight for many aspiring comedy performers. I also monitor our stand-out material keeping note of what will hopefully stand the test of time in preparation for the Edinburgh show.

The show is acknowledged as a highly successful springboard for all the incredible talents involved, many of whom started their careers on the show before scaling great comedy heights. Described by Chortle as ‘a rite of passage for all comedy new-comers’ previous alumni include: Rory Bremner, Reece Shearsmith, Alistair McGowan, Bill Bailey, Sean McCann, Michelle Collins, Zoe Lyons, Nick Helm, Cariad Lloyd, Bridget Christie, Gemma Arrowsmith, Sarah-Louise Young, Lorna Watson, Gemma Whelan, Luke Toulson and Sara Pascoe.

Title NewsRevue 2016
Performance Dates Wednesday 3rd – Monday 29th August, 18:30
Running time 60 minutes
Location Pleasance Courtyard (Beyond), 60 Pleasance, Edinburgh, EH8 9TJ

Notes Ages 14+ (parental guidance)
Producer Emma Taylor Director Katie Pesskin Musical Director Tom Barnes
Cast Jessica Brady
Daniel Collard Naomi McDonald Matthew Pennington
Previews Canal Café Theatre, London
14th – 24th July, Thursdays to Saturdays at 9.30pm, Sundays at 9pm

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