The 2020 Wharf Revue is titled Good Night and Good Luck. If that Edward R. Murrow reference sounds rather final, well, it is and it isn't.
This year's Wharf Revue will be the 20th and last presented by the Sydney Theatre Company. But the satirical revue's creators and performers - Jonathan Biggins, Drew Forsythe and Phillip Scott - intend to keep it going themselves.
Even COVID-19 couldn't stop the Wharf Revue in 2020, only delay it. And Canberra, where it's been coming for most of its life and which is sometimes dubbed the revue's spiritual home, will have a three-week season. Biggins, Forsythe and Scott will be joined by regular guest Wharfie Mandy Bishop.
Forsythe says, "We open in Parramatta on November 26 and the following week we're in Canberra.
"We've never had three weeks there before, but we've never had coronavirus before."
Socially distanced seating will be in place, but the longer season will allow as many people as possible to see the show.
Although this year's Wharf Revue was still in rehearsal at the time of the interview. some ideas seemed pretty solid.
Not surprisingly, coronavirus is a recurring theme through the show. Indeed, there are two coronaviruses as characters who recur throughout including at Centrelink where jobseekers lament to Seekers songs.
One sketch imagines a quarantine hotel run a la Fawlty Towers.
A koala who first appeared a few years ago pops up again to talk about what it's like to be a marsupial when someone like NSW deputy premier John Barilaro wants to cut down the trees you call home.
"It's the same suit."
New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Adern will pop over to give Australia some advice on how to run a country.
Some pieces won't have coronavirus themes. Forsythe will play Russian president Vladimir Putin, who sings his own special version of Mamma Mia!, to celebrate his seemingly endless grip on power.
Elton John will sing a medley of his songs in praise of North Korea's Kim dynasty.
The ALP factions will have a Cats-themed meeting with factions represented by felines. Julia Gillard as Julia Cat will recall her time as prime minister to the tune of Memory.
The US presidential election will be played out in a Wild West town run by Mayor Trump. Other residents include the strict schoolmarm, Nancy Pelosi, and the madam of the whorehouse, Melania
What happens when Hizzoner the Mayor finds out a man from the east is coming in to challenge him at high noon?
We'll know what happened in real life before we get to see how the Wharfies' version ends.
Trump has featured in the Wharf Revue before and Forsythe wonders whether people are getting sick of him.
"They might no longer find him funny - he's a bit of a bad joke," Forsythe says.
"He's a clown in his own right."
Forsythe himself will be playing, among others, One Nation leader Pauline Hanson, spouting conspiracy theories.
He says that the 20th anniversary with the STC seemed like a fitting time to bid the company farewell and go out on their own.
"It's been a long time, we've built an audience."
The revue began in 2000 at the start of Robyn Nevin's term as head of the STC. It was her idea to bring the three writer-actor-performers together and general manager Rob Brookman liked it.
They came up with the first Wharf Revue - named after the STC's Wharf Theatre. It was a hit.
"They had us on the net year, the next year, the year after that - they gave us complete autonomy to do whatever we wanted."
Forsythe says he, Biggins and Scott are very grateful for Nevin and Brookman's faith in them.
After this year, with the amount of goodwill they've built, they want to join with another producer and continue.
One of the new things they want to do is to increase the number of places they can visit, which was limited under the STC schedule.
The revue has been on every year since with various guest actors joining the cast.
Each of the core trio has had time off from performing in the revue periodically to take part in other projects.
Forsythe says, "I went off to do Strictly Ballroom for a while and was on a TV show produced by Andrew Denton, David Tench Tonight."
But they're all always involved in the creation and management.
And, Forsythe says, despite the longevity of the collaboration, "We're still good friends ...We work very well together and we write a lot of stuff by ourselves as well and bring it in."
The audience can often instantly recognise a character simply from his or her hair (or lack of it) and so, Forsythe says, "Wigs are everything: it's very important to get them right."
Malcolm Turnbull "was very hard to play, partly because I've got too much hair."
Forsythe has enjoyed impersonating such prominent Australians as Bob Katter, Alexander Downer, Bob Carr, Bob Ellis, Barry Jones and Eric Abetz, each of whom has a very distinctive voice.
The actors travel only with a stage manager: "We don't have a makeup person or a wig person and we do all the [costume] changes ourselves."
Forsythe says The Wharf Revue is intended to comment satirical about the lunacy of people and events of the day.
If it can do that and be funny at the same time, "it's great".
- The Wharf Revue: Good Night and Good Luck. Written by Jonathan Biggins, Drew Forsythe and Phillip Scott. The Playhouse, Canberra Theatre Centre. December 1 to 12, various times. COVID-19 restrictions in place. canberratheatrecentre.com.au or 62752700.