Behind the laughter: Drew Forsyth talks THE WHARF REVUE

In the ever-evolving landscape of political satire and theatrical brilliance, The Wharf Revue stands as a timeless beacon of humour, wit, and incisive commentary.

Returning to Australia with its latest offering, Pride in Prejudice, this comedic institution promises an evening of laughter that transcends the confines of time and expectation.

Drew Forsythe

A co-creator and performer in this satirical extravaganza is Drew Forsyth, a distinguished graduate of NIDA and a seasoned performer with over twenty-three years of experience in shaping The Wharf Revue’s distinctive brand of entertainment.

The creative journey for The Wharf Revue kicks off well in advance, with Forsyth, along with Jonathan Biggins and Phillip Scott, delving into the news cycle to identify ripe material. “We wait for someone to provide us with a clanger big enough for us to build a sketch or a monologue around. The usual suspects never fail to oblige,” Drew says.

Once the material is gathered, the trio faces the challenge of finding the perfect format to suit the idiosyncrasies of their subjects. “Do we put them in an opera, as we have done with Putin this year, or in an ‘Oh Brother Where Art Thou’ prison escape scene for Donald Trump and Rudy Giuliani? Robin Hood for Albo and his merry men, robbing from the rich, is another,” Forsyth explains, showcasing the versatility and creativity that defines The Wharf Revue.

The writing process is a collaborative effort, with each member contributing individually and collectively. Titles, Drew admits, are always a tricky aspect of the creative process. “Finding something that seems to reflect the mood of the times is what we try to achieve, and ‘Pride in Prejudice’ seemed to be a prevailing theme when we decided on it. It also gives us a good period sketch to kick the show off with,” he shares.

 

With twenty-three years of The Wharf Revue under their belts, the team trusts that their audience will still find humoru in the absurdity of institutions. To balance the comedic tone, they incorporate serious subjects that resist easy ridicule, providing a nuanced and diverse experience for the audience.

For Drew, the most rewarding aspect is the writing. “Finding a subject and bending it to fit a genre that is not expected,” he reflects. Over the years, he has drawn inspiration from literary giants like James Joyce, Dylan Thomas, Lewis Carroll, Shakespeare, and Chaucer. “Choosing songs the audience may not expect would suit the characters,” he adds. One example is a piece for Sussan Ley singing her views to Nat King Cole standards.

Yet, the joy of performing is still evident, especially when embodying characters like Joe Biden, the late Queen, and Costa in the current show. As they gear up for another season, it is clear that The Wharf Revue has become a cultural institution, and is not one to miss.


The Wharf Revue: Pride in Prejudice is currently playing as part of Melbourne’s Comedy Festival.

For tickets and more information, visit www.comedyfestival.com.au/revue

Gabi Bergman

Gabi Bergman is a Melbourne-based performer and educator, and is the current Deputy Editor-in-Chief of AussieTheatre.com. She holds a Double Arts degree in Theatre Studies and Film/Screen Studies and a Master of Teaching (Secondary Education). Gabi has always been an avid lover of theatre, specifically musicals, and spends way too much money than she’d like to admit on tickets. Her most prized possession is her crate of theatre programs.

Gabi Bergman

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