THEATRE REVIEW: Law Actually, the 2015 Law Revue

LAW ACTUALLY: The 2015 Law Revue
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Presented by: The University of Newcastle Law Students Association

Venue: Hunter Theatre, Broadmeadow

Season: Ended Saturday

LAWYERS are trained to look at every aspect of the matters they are handling, so it wasn’t surprising that this year’s law revue, staged by Newcastle University law students, not only reworked, tongue-in-cheek, the title of the romantic film comedy Love Actually, but also imitated on the cover of its theatre program the film’s poster showing the stars of its intertwined romantic stories.

And there was certainly romance in the revue, with a love affair between two law lecturers at the university providing a throughline between the sketches.

This romance also included amusing references to well-known films, with a female lecturer character called Hannah Bell Lecter specialising in violent actions. And while I initially wondered about the model for the male, Tristan Evans, a duet late in the show called Heavens, Dr Evans brought to mind an amusing song from Keating! The Musical in which a similarly named academic lawyer-turned-politician and a woman from another party voice their love for each other.

But audience members didn’t need to know the backgrounds of law and lawyers to enjoy the show. Another song, The Lecturer’s Lament, had an academic moaning about ‘‘empty chairs and empty tables’’ when he had a law class in a lecture theatre.

The student team put together some clever videos drawing on popular television shows.

Law – The Final Frontier had a group of lawyers with names including Kirk, Spock, Scotty, Sulu and Bones (all preceded by Mr) meeting in a book-lined office to discuss tricky cases, such as an exploding goat.

The live sketches with only passing mentions of legal issues included an early-morning radio/television team reading letters from prominent people, among them Tony Abbott, with the letter writers seen voicing their hilarious words.

An amusingly staged puppet show version of Little Red Riding Hood had the title character considering taking legal action over the treatment she was receiving from the wolf.

A sketch in which a Disney executive chastised two male workers for their sexual manoeuvres with female characters in the company’s films effectively had all the characters in black-and-white costumes and make-up, in contrast to the bright colours used in the cinema works.

And a suited case-worker called Bond, who looked like the same-name hero of popular thrillers, decided he’d achieve more by working online, which jovially showed how times have changed.

The 20 cast members, who included directors Jordan Rothwell, Sarah Behne-Smith, and Chris Laidler, confirmed why university revues have long had a reputation for making pertinent comments in a bright way.