News Revue | Photos
Bradley appeared in Run 4 of the 2008 News Revue season along with Amy Castledine, Jo Bowis and Sam Quinn at The Canal Café Theatre, a 60-seat theatre in the heart of Little Venice, Paddington, London. Bradley’s roles included George Bush, Alistair Darling, Salman Rushdie, Bonnie Tyler and many more. The grand finale consisted of a Rocky Horror spoof, where Bradley appeared on stage resplendent as a Dr Frank N Furteresque David Cameron, complete with fishnets and cloak!
The format of News Revue is simple. Take two boys, two girls, a director, a musical director and a team of writers. Allow to simmer for nine days and then cut out up to forty sketches and songs and serve for four nights a week.
News Revue is a fast-paced show of hilarious sketches and songs based on absolutely anything in the news -- politics, sport, celebrities -- from The Lords to Lords, from the Middle East's Jordan to the Sun's Jordan.
Updated on a weekly basis, News Revue is an excellent night out for anyone who enjoys a laugh. Over the years, the show has won the Fringe First Award and a Perrier nomination in Edinburgh, won rave reviews from the national press, recorded many TV & radio specials and helped begin the careers of Rory Bremner, Michelle Collins, Josie Lawrence & Bill Bailey.
The constant updating of material and faces has allowed News Revue to build up a cult following in London and beyond. As of July 2004, News Revue is proud to have been awarded the Guinness World Record for the longest theatrical run of a comedy show, as it celebrates its twenty-fifth birthday.
First Act Magazine, Issue 18
Here is the News
London is a city of legends. What’s the world’s longest running show? The Mousetrap, playing right here in London, of course. That was an easy question. What’s the world’s longest running comedy show? Not so easy. It’s News Revue, again playing right here in London.
In case you’re ever confronted by Anne Robinson on the Weakest Link, herself often a target of News Revue’s cutting satire, you might also like to know that the show began at 1.30pm in the Royal Arch Halls on Queens Street on the 18 August 1979. It’s phenomenal success and longevity is due to the fact that it’s always relevant, always up to date, constantly changing and accurately reflecting the current political climate. Every few weeks there is a change of cast, change of director and change of musical director, but the really ingenious part about it, is that every show is different. News Revue is updated by between 20% to 40% each week, keeping the material up to date but also allowing time to rehearse the new scenes. Teams of comedy scriptwriters, drawn from all over, BBC, radio, TV, meet on Thursday to discuss current events and they produce scripts, songs, and sketches by 12pm Tuesday. These are delivered to the cast for a read-through and a discussion and then the cast rehearse ready for Thursday’s opening night.
It’s launched the careers of many a household name, Michelle Collins, Rory Bremner, Josie Lawrence and Bill Bailey are among some of News Revue’s most auspicious alumni. Current cast members are Jo Bowis, Amy Castledine, Bradley Clarkson, and Sam Quinn.
It’s a frenetic, hectic show, fast-paced, bitingly accurate and devastatingly witty. It’s frequentlyclose to the knuckle in it’s content.
“There’s a fine line though,” Clarkson says. ““We do get quite a few tuts,” giggles Castledine. “Pretty much anything goes.”
Clarkson and Castledine both trained at the same drama school and were friends before they were cast in the show. They have an easy camaraderie,finishing each other’s sentences, and laughing at each other’s jokes. It’s a chemistry that helps in News Revue.
“We’re very close,” agrees Clarkson.“I think we brought a security to our cast straight away,” agrees Castledine.
In the frenetic world of News Revue, the company have just two days to learn the show each week before their opening night. “It’s horrendous,” laughs Castledine without sounding remotely convincing. “Moments before you go on, there’s a panic especially when you’re doing new things, new scenes that week. You enjoy the things you’re more settled in and you have several moments of panic, for the bits that aren’t quite there yet.”
“It’s the toughest job I’ve ever done,” agrees Clarkson, “but also the most rewarding. It’s non-stop for the hour”
And of course there are times when things go wrong? “I forgot a rap once,” groans Clarkson. “I just had to busk it, free style it.” “It was prettyimpressive,” Castledine reassures him.
Both trained in musical theatre, which must help with the singing and dancing side of News Revue, but ultimately News Revue is a comedy show. Perhaps a little less exposing than stand-up, but a comedy show nonetheless. Was it difficult to adapt their training for this genre?
“Well, I’ve always considered myself a comedy actress,” says Castledine. "Being in News Revue is not solely comedy, it’s characterisation really. It feels like I’m getting up on stage and saying ‘Look at me! I’m funny’ – and that can knock your confidence sometimes.” Clarkson on the other hand always wanted to be in the West End “I wanted to be in a big musical when I left drama school,” he says.“But having done this, it’s just so rewarding. I’d definitely come back and do this again. It’s been amazing.”
And cast members do frequently return, or appear in the version of the show that takes the Edinburgh Fringe by storm every year. With recent sketches covering the Hillary vs. Obama US elections, Boris Johnson becoming Mayor, the “42 days” legislation, it must be useful to have knowledge of current affairs.
“You do have to have quite a good grounding,” says Clarkson, “just to know the stock characters and to know what’s going on.” Castledine agrees,“With a lot of these things, the audience doesn’t really know too much, so you have to know enough to make a specific decision so the audience can appreciate it.”
Ah yes, the audience. No doubt well informed liberal middle class liberal Guardian readers? “We had an audience full of American Democrats the other night” says Casteldine. “We do the show four nights a week, so it’s a different reaction every night.” “It’s amazing actually,” concludes Clarkson. "I thought it would be a homogenous type of person that comes, but it’s different every single night.”
News Revue sells out pretty quickly each week, but given that it’s one of the most intelligent, wittiest, funniest shows around, that’s not really a surprise.
Go see it, then go see it again, and again, and again.