The Oxford Revue once had a big Cambridge-sized chip on its shoulder and was known in the university press for being insular and exclusive. Clearly defi ned and obviously Oxonian, their comic output could be accused of being fettered and stale.
But those were the old days, when Godfrey Bloom was still a member of UKIP, before Miley Cyrus twerked her way into moral abstraction.
Back then, auditions at the start of Michaelmas would only admit a handful of people – that self-same bunch would stay for the whole year, performing various sketches throughout and taking a show to Edinburgh for the Fringe in the summer.
This year sees a structural reform in the Oxford Revue. One member comments, “The auditions at the beginning of the year have been scrapped and the ‘Oxford Revue’ per se no longer exists.” There will be a new termly production, open to all – Michaelmas boasts a knee-slapping cross-dressing Christmas pantomime, Aladdin, in 7th week at the Keble O’Reilly.
Fortnightly ‘Audreys’ will still take place at The Wheatsheaf on Tuesday evenings of even weeks. Auditions will be on Sunday evenings and will be open to an audience; the committee will give feedback to acts auditioning. There is also a bonus ‘Virgin Audrey’ in 4th week for those who have “never before got intimate with a microphone on stage.”
Throughout the year, the Oxford Revue Committee plans a series of “comedy events that aren’t shows”, kicking off with an appearancefrom David Misch, writer of The Muppets, in 2nd week. It’s worth keeping an eye out for more events of this ilk: considering the wealth of alumni that the Revue boasts, they’re sure to pull in some big names.
The Revue is rebranding itself as a funding body and advisory panel. This means that anybody with an idea for a comedy show (sketch, stand-up, or otherwise) will be able to contact the team for guidance and financial help. Comic hopefuls should view these opportunities to meet other funny individuals as a kind of comedydating site: the perfect match could be waiting just around the corner.
The stress is on innovation and opportunity. This summer the Oxford Revue took With Bits to Edinburgh and came back with “great reviews and sore livers”, as well as running the ‘Free Fringe Project’. This enabled performers to do their set at a Free Fringe venue without being part of the offi cial Oxford Revue show. Recruitment for the summer will take place in Hilary term and, although there is no pressure, the aim of the Audreys is to suss out potential recruits.
Tragically, the summer is still nine long months off . In the meantime, the Revue’s message is clear: get yourself down to the Audreys and expect barrels of laughs and beer.
Find out more about the revamped Revue here