Pride In Prejudice: The Wharf Review

The Wharf Review 2024The Wharf Revue. Dunstan Playhouse. 9 Apr 2024


As befits the title, Pride In Prejudice opened in the ‘Bonnet’ parlour, with the prejudice flowing thick and fast. The befrocked Jonathan Biggins, David Whitney and Drew Forsythe managed to slay quite a few not-so-sacred cows as Mama and the Bonnet sisters, who are still living at home “as the Reserve Bank wanted”. The anachronistic references between the 19 and 21st centuries are pumped out with shotgun rapidity, with the Church, patriarchy and transgender children all targeted. The gay references were a little weary, fortunately it’s hard to find too much humour in ‘woofters’ any more. There are better comedic references than name calling.


The Wharf Revue have been producing political satire for 25 years and while the format harks back a couple of centuries, it doesn’t really get old. Sketches, dance numbers, songs and a nod to vaudeville ensure that the audience is always entertained; if you didn’t like this, hang on, we’ve got something else!


No-one gets off lightly in these parodies and satirical sketches, but there’s a definite left lean to most of them. Q&A gets a puppet roasting in one of the less successful numbers and Lidia Thorpe is serenaded in the afore-noted vaudeville style by Groucho March, clever but a touch cringe. David Marr shines and Robodebt has its moments.


There’s a lovely Trump/Giuliani moment when, escaping through the (undrained) swamp, Trump sings an ode to Mar-a-Lago, pulling out his ukulele to do so. What is it with leaders and ukuleles? Are they so determined to give them a bad name?


Mandy Bishop and David Whitney as Jackie Lambie and David Pocock were most entertaining, as were the French protesters looking for a cause. A fairly ordinary Biden sketch was lifted by a delightful physical lampooning of POTUS.


Bishop treats Sussan Ley with appropriate hubris, belting out a big jazz number with keyboard accompaniment from Musical Director Michael Tyack, who does an admirable job throughout. She’s no slouch at Julie Bishop either.


The Revue is at its best when it critiques with sharp political analysis rather than just poking fun at easy targets. While Dr No (who else but Dutton) is funny, there’s incisive commentary via a Robin Hood sketch about the stasis of our current government, and one is torn between laughing at the cleverness or weeping with despair at the greatest missed opportunity of our political times.


When the ensemble really hit their straps, they cut to the bone. To the tune of Bad Moon Rising, the cast performs an acapella requiem to the Voice referendum – it’s chilling and heartbreaking.


The show is rounded off with a parody of South Pacific with some very funny piss takes and clever plays on words, and the excellent singing featured throughout the production finishes up the evening. Like all productions of this nature, there’s hit and miss in the sketches, but after a slow start it all kicked in, ranging from the gently mocking to the surgical filleting of some of our best-known political figures. With clever wardrobe design from Hazel and Scott Fisher and lightning-fast costume changes, this is a fine edition of the Wharf Revue’s theatrical oeuvre.


Arna Eyers-White


When: Until Saturday 13 April

Where: Dunstan Playhouse