The Six O’Clock News was a varied and eclectic mix of political satire, stand-up, and some serious, thought-provoking talks. As promised, it responded to the news (or on-going issues) of the day, which ranged in their gravity from Daily Mirror headlines on David Beckham to the Olympics to the armed conflict in Syria.
The first sketch or chapter consisted of a humorous exchange between Daniel Bye and Dick Bonham, in which one character explained to his rather obtuse friend the news stories of the day. As he explained the complicated matters of Scottish Independence, NASA space probes and missing children, he concludes, ‘New is a complex tapestry – like a British the Wire’. Almost as confusing as the plot of Lost. As well as recognising the complexity and occasional absurdity of the news, this chapter helped set the tone for the rest of the performance; it would be complicated, occasionally absurd, and packed with stories and styles that were not obviously connected with each other. Much like the news.
Annie Rigby’s travel section, in which she describes her brother’s trip to Aleppo, was one of the more moving of the chapters, and along with Alex Elliott’s tale of a bus journey around Colombia, one of the more compelling. These chapters were stylistically starkly different to the more satirical and light hearted sketches, for example, Gary Kitching’s discussion on how incredible it is that David Beckham is alive. But the show thrived on the contrasting effects of its performers. And while it was disappointing that not one performer was able to deliver their section without the script in front of them, the entire enterprise was very impressive given the short time in which it had been produced. Overall, it was a creative and intelligent effort, and a job well done.