Bar Revue: in review

Talitha Fishburn
Justin Pen

In June 2023, the red velvet curtains opened on the inaugural Bar Revue at Marrickville’s Factory Theatre – a sellout success over its three-night run!

Written and directed by barrister Harry Black and artist Lucy West-Sooby, the show comprised 18 skits juggled between a tight-knit cast of 11 actors (seven barristers) and backed up by a live band of four musicians (two barristers), and two dedicated stagehands.

The script was based on character pieces, impressions, and absurdist humour – deliberately eschewing jokes ripped from the headlines.

Katrina Curry opened the show singing ‘Chambers’, to the tune of Chains by Tina Arena. Lachlan Menzies wore many hats, perhaps most memorably as Judge Nudge, a near-retired judge receiving a make-over from his colourful ‘on trend’ stylist, Kevin, acted hilariously by Andrew Christopher. Demonstrating the breadth of his theatrical expanse, Lachlan also played Darren, an ardent independent political enthusiast; Esmerelda, a witch; a nameless whispering and monologuing ASMR Existentialist; and a frustrated magistrate. With great aplomb, Emily Aitken performed the self represented parasol-wielding Blanche Dubois defending a DUI charge with charming, persuasive style. Emily also performed an array of roles including a well-heeled Teal campaigner and a busy career woman dropping off her wand-wielding young child, played by Harry Black, to a somewhat satanic ‘Witchy’ day care centre. Maria Gerace took to the stage as a forthright judge as well as an overworked teacher frazzled by navigating the prevailing ‘cancel culture’ provoked by Talitha Fishburn and Samantha Hutchinson, who were her testy students. The house was positively brought down in the musical item, Footloose starring Helen Maguire, Scott Maybury and Andrew Christopher in the skit ASIC v Caddick.

A delightful routine was performed by Lucy West-Sooby who was Professor Maxim, deploying the power of song to explain the ins and outs of ‘Equity’ to an eager law student played by Harry Black. Lucy sang to the tune of Emily by Frank Sinatra:

Equity, equity, equity
Won’t complete an imperfect gift.
A forfeiture, it abhors, but it adores
Those who come to it with clean hands.
Say equity, equity, equity
And avoid a multiplicity of suits
To do justice, not by halves, it delights
Keeping volunteers, way out of sight
It’s kinda, a bit like, equality
That’s sort of equity, equity
If you seek it, you must do it,
that’s just trite
Be vigilant, not indolent, you’ll be alright
It’s kinda, a bit like, equality
You want a remedy, then in equity

The show ended with an all-cast song and dance, ‘Girls Just Wanna Be Silks’ to the tune of Girls Just want to Have Fun by Cyndi Lauper.

Bar News caught up with Harry Black after the show. Reflecting on it, he was genuinely thrilled. He said, ‘I couldn’t have asked for a better cast or performance.’

Following the resounding success of the inaugural show, Harry hopes that Bar Revue will return in 2024 and perhaps become a regular feature of the Bar’s annual social calendar.

It is understandable that those performing might approach Bar Revue with equal parts exhilaration and trepidation, given the audience. On opening night, various members of the judiciary were in attendance! But all comments were favourable. Chief Justice Bell reviewed the production as ‘fun and fabulous!’ Another member of the judiciary said: ‘It was so much fun. Exactly what a revue should be. Genuinely hilarious in many parts. Fully committed performances plus an excellent band. We all loved it. Congrats on a great show.’ Rumours have it that one Supreme Court judge was in attendance on two successive nights!

Well done to Harry Black and Lucy West-Sooby and the cast of Bar Revue 2023.

Bring on Bar Revue 2024! BN

Talitha Fishburn

Black Chambers

Justin Pen

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