Sunday, 4 June 2017

News Dramaturgy: Sam Sheldon @ Edfringe 2017

NewsRevue 2017
Pleasance Courtyard (Beyond), 60 Pleasance, Edinburgh, EH8 9TJ Wednesday 2nd – Monday 28th August 2017 (not 15th), 18:30
NewsRevue may be back every year but it’s always an entirely new show! This Guinness World Record-breaking, Fringe First-winning, Perrier finalist, news-based song and sketch show is where you should come if you’re in need of a cathartic dose of comic exasperation - all in the spirit of free expression.

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 with the demise of democracy, Brexit and, of course, the unavoidable Trump!

And, as Napoleon once said, 'In politics, absurdity is not a handicap'. The excellent writing, superlative performances and original takes on current affairs make this a must-see at the Fringe every year.

What was the inspiration for this performance?

The News! For NewsRevue, if it's in the news we'll probably have something to say about it!

Is performance still a good space for the public discussion of ideas?

Performance will always be the perfect space for the discussion of ideas. Productions such as ours shed light on current events and the people who run our day to day lives in ways that people least expect. I mean it's always easier to discuss UKIP after you've seen Nigel Farage rap at you.

How did you become interested in making performance?

I first became interested in developing my own work when I began performing Stand Up Comedy which was my first experience of publicly sharing my own written work.

Is there any particular approach to the making of the show?

Due to the fast nature of the show and the need to keep material up to date and fresh, the rehearsal and development process is equally as fast paced.   Our director Katie Pesskin directed the show last year when the result of the Brexit vote and the immediate repercussions in the British government had a huge impact on the show as every day the news was becoming old news. Things were changing exceptionally quickly which was hard work for the cast but very exciting for audiences.

Does the show fit with your usual productions?

I have always loved performing comedy but I have never had the opportunity to take part in something so fast paced with such a huge turn around in material, which while challenging is also a really exciting process to be a part of.

What do you hope that the audience will experience?

I hope the audience experience a great sense of catharsis and enjoyment that comes with making fun of the nightmare which is our current political climate. In simpler terms I just hope they have as much fun watching Donald Trump sing and dance as much as I have playing him!

What strategies did you consider towards shaping this audience experience?

Just keep on laughing, if we find it funny then hopefully the audience will too.

Producer Emma Taylor comments, I feel as committed to and enthralled by NewsRevue today as when I first started producing it in 2001. As the daughter of a former refugee and political prisoner, producing NewsRevue is a daily reminder of how lucky we are for our freedom of speech and that we are allowed to mock the powers that be through gags, song and dance.

2016 director Katie Pesskin is returning to the show for a second year running. She comments, 2016 was an incredibly exciting time for NewsRevue. The result of the Brexit vote and the immediate repercussions in the British government had a huge impact on the show as every day the news was becoming old news. Things were changing exceptionally quickly - hard work for us and very exciting for our audiences! It was NewsRevue doing what it does best and such a memorable 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 2017
Performance Dates Wednesday 2nd – Monday 28th August (not 15th), 18:30
Running time 60 minutes
Location Pleasance Courtyard (Beyond), 60 Pleasance, Edinburgh, EH8 9TJ
Box Office Tickets are available from, priced £10 - £17.50
Twitter @newsrevue, @ThePleasance
Notes Ages 14+ (parental guidance)
Producer Emma Taylor Director Katie Pesskin Musical Director Tom Barnes
Cast Howard Grater
Sam Sheldon Abigail Simpson Elissa Churchill
Previews Canal Café Theatre, London
20th – 23rd July, 27th – 28th July, Thursdays to Saturdays at 9.30pm, Sundays at 9pm

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