The year 2018 is in our rearview mirrors, but it is onstage at arts and culture centres provincewide this winter, as Rising Tide Theatre tours its annual “Revue” show.
“Revue 2018” opened on Jan. 11 in Trinity, before heading to the St. John’s Arts and Culture Centre Jan. 16-20. The show will make stops in Labrador, Grand Falls-Windsor, Stephenville, Corner Brook, Gander, Carbonear, Bonavista and Clarenville before wrapping up in Marystown on Feb. 23.
Eight writers (director Donna Butt, Rick Boland, Tina Randall, Step Taylor, Andrew Tremblett, Evan Mercer, Stuart Simpson and John Sheehan) created a slew of skits for the seven actors (Boland, Randall, Mercer, Simpson, Sheehan, Michael Power, Marquita Walsh) who played a myriad of roles throughout the show, cramming a year’s worth of headlines and head scratchers into less than three hours.
This year’s “Revue” opened with a “Happy Weed Year” celebration song, riffing on David Bowie’s “Dancing in the Streets” as “Smoking in the Streets.”
Unsurprisingly, numerous cannabis-related jokes were scattered throughout the show, with Boland becoming a not so kid-friendly Puff the Magic Dragon.
The Muskrat Falls project was also a hot topic, sometimes combined with reefer madness mockery.
“If we had spent 12 billion on cannabis, we wouldn’t need electricity,” Boland joked. “We’d be wired!”
Progressive Conservative Leader Ches Crosbie was the butt of many jokes, also infused with pot.
Remarking about the moratorium on cod, oil and mustard pickles, some feared that marijuana would be next: “I didn’t take the weed out of the goddamn soil,” a bald-capped Michael Power shouted.
A skit recreating the September bear spray incident at Prince of Wales Collegiate was a personal favourite, as well as a scathing take on the goings-on in Springdale regarding the installation of a rainbow crosswalk.
Randall’s “Oh Me Nerves” character was a crowd favourite, as it is every year, and a “Grease”-inspired mini-musical about Eddie Joyce, Pam Parsons, Dale Kirby and Sherry Gambin-Walsh also inspired a lot of laughs.
In a lengthy tirade, Sheehan lamented oddball cultural traditions and shticks – painting row houses on beach rocks, over-the-top Screech-in ceremonies, canned fog, the obsession with not being able to purchase mustard and pickles mixed together – “all this before we were allowed to smoke weed!”
Also on the list of topics roasted by the “Revue” cast: potholes, Tide pods, Kenmount Road construction, whale-chasing boat tours, VOCM Open Line’s Paddy Daly, Justin Trudeau, Pokemon Go, self check-outs, Newfoundlanders on “Jeopardy,” stranded dolphins, the 1.6-kilometre “walk zone” school bus policy, former CBC N.L. meteorologist Ryan Snoddon, Hilton the great white shark, Jack Axes, “Come From Away,” and Olympians Kaetlyn Osmond and Brad Gushue.
I didn’t laugh as much as I did last year, but I mean, come on — 2017 brought us do-it-yourself circumcisions, alleged alien sightings and Merb’ys.
But “Revue 2018” was a perfect sendoff to another weird, wild, wacky and wonderful year on this sensationally strange island.