Revue in review
By Claire Huang
Well, what a ride! The 2020 Year 12 Revue, ‘Radford Night Live’, was a roaring success, showcasing and celebrating the talents of individuals and of the year as a whole.
Modelled after the popular late-night showcase Saturday Night Live, hosts Georgia Waddell-Wood and Zac Barbatano took the audience on a thrilling journey, with fun skits interspersed with lively music and dance intermissions. Scenes included 500 Feet Apart, a reference to the impacts of social distancing on the Radford life, The Asian Bachelor, and Mean Teachers, a Radford parody. Hilarity ensued as members of the audience were treated to a night of laughter and fun. And of course, Revue would not be complete without the banter between the hosts, references to vital aspects of the Radford experience, including detention with Mr Davis, the classic ribbing of the IB program and uniform design, all of which made for an entertaining and vibrant production.
One of the most-anticipated events of the annual calendar, the creation of Revue relies on tireless hours of work from the directors, actors, writers, committee members, set designers and painters, costume designers, dancers, musicians, canteen, tech crew and all others involved. As described by one of the chairs of the committee, Spencer Burns, whose role was to was to oversee most of the decisions that were made, working as a part of Revue involved ‘lots of meetings, discussions, arguments, laughs and stress’ for all. While this is certainly true for any production, this year’s process was even tougher, as everything had to be completed within only six weeks.
Despite this tight time frame, the year group combined to all pitch in, and in Spencer’s words, ‘With continued effort across the six weeks, we made it work. We had lots of planning to do, including creating timelines, schedules, set designs, editing the script, casting roles, and we had to execute this as well in roughly three weeks. It was extremely stressful and at times we thought it wasn’t going to come together, as everything was being completed very last minute. However, in the end, everything worked out and everyone involved did an amazing job with their role. It was hard to coordinate everything in such a small time frame due to COVID-19, but the hard work from everyone involved created an amazing production in the end.’
When asked about the creative process for this year’s Revue, Jeffrey Liang, one of the writers of Revue 2020, stated that:
‘The inspiration for scenes in this Revue came from aspects of Radford which we would like to poke fun at, other skits we had seen, crazy ideas which we just thought were plain funny, and writing from personal experiences. Often it was hard to commence writing and push through writer’s block, but I was always trying to think of how the dialogue and plot could be structured in order to set-up a joke. Whenever these opportunities arose, sometimes spontaneously, it was accompanied with an intense flow of excited typing to get the idea down, because I knew that if I got it right, it had the potential to make the audience laugh. As a writer, it was amazing to see the words we wrote come off the page into something real and tangible we could see in front of our eyes and it was extremely satisfying to hear the audience laugh when a joke we wrote landed.’
With precautions put in place in case of a second wave of COVID-19, the original Revue script was abandoned for a flexible approach.
In the search for a show which could be split into small segments and filmed separately, directors and writers looked to the Saturday Night Live format. According to Adele Beaumont, one of the student directors, ‘After the COVID-19 lockdown in May, myself and many members of our year group were convinced that Revue would not go ahead. We knew that we would not be able to perform it in the traditional structure and would possibly need to adapt it. However, once we got back to school, we met with Mr Akhurst to discuss the future of Revue where we were met with a glimmer of hope! Revue could perform! [The new format] was not only more COVID-19 safe, but it also offered an ideal format, as the structure of a late-night show with hosts, skits and scenes worked perfectly for the nature of Radford Year 12 Revues.’
With the social distancing restrictions in place, there were only 50 seats a night for the live shows. Consequently, this year’s Revue was the first to be widely broadcast through alternative channels, including a live streaming option at the Heath Lecture Theatre, and at-home viewing. In traditional live shows, performers are able to feed off the energy of the audience, making this Revue an unusual experience for performers. Having a small live audience could be disheartening at times, however, in Adele’s words, ‘This was made up for by the amazing and energetic audience members we had, as well as all of the actors who kept up their energy to make the performance!’ The new viewing channels also opened up a realm of possibilities, as many people who would have otherwise been unable to come and see the production were able to enjoy the show from the comfort of their own living rooms. To these members of the audience, the performers appeared like movie stars as they shone in their respective roles.
Overall, despite the shortened time frame and unique challenges faced, Revue 2020 was a brilliant production which demonstrated the capabilities of the year to come together and create something truly special. Special thanks to Mr Akhurst, Mr Davis, Dr Johnson, Ms Notley, the Y12 tutors, and all members of staff who were involved. Your support and tireless work was integral in helping the production run smoothly.
To finish off this review of Revue, I’d like to share a final reflection from Adele:
‘Working on the Year 12 Revue this year was undeniably a stressful experience, with late nights, long days, filming, rehearsing and late-night Teams meetings. However, despite all of this, it was truly one of the most amazing experiences. For me, my favourite aspect of my role as a director was the ability to work closely with my year. I made so many new friendships with people from all through our year, and it was incredible seeing the cast and crew progress from their first rehearsal, desperately clutching their scripts, all the way through to the show nights where they are smashed it out on stage!’
If you missed Radford’s unique Revue 2020 and would like to see it, we hope to have copies available for purchase - watch the Bulletin for more information.