The University of Melbourne Architecture Department

1948 was the first performance and the revue continued to 1953. In 1956 when Jeff was in 2nd year, he along with Rosemary Eggleston and Rita Avdiev organised a meeting and resurrected the student club with Jeff as President, Rosemary as Treasurer and Rita as Secretary. The revue became a way to make the club solvent.The first revues of this period were held at lunchtime and an entrance fee of two shillings covered the costs of mounting the show. In 1958 the Revue moved to an evening timeslot running every year until 1987. From 1960 to 1968 audio recordings were made. The Revues were held in the Union Theatre until it was refitted for CinemaScope then moved to the Prince Philip Theatre.

The ethos behind the Revue was that the whole school participated. This was at a time when the school was much smaller and nvolvement easier to organise. The Revue consisted of many types of performances lampooning current political, architectural or faculty issues of the time as well as popular film and TV shows through sketches, skits, songs, quickies and ballet.

The students who were naturals at acting and performing developed sketches to present to the director and in consultation with the group encouraged further development. It was a lengthy process to get a sketch in the
Revue and sometimes it would go through the whole development stage and not make it to performance. Another popular item were Quickies–short visual sketches which would give the stage crew a chance to change sets. One Revue saw students creating a script around the controversy related to the National Gallery of Victoria design with Roy Grounds elbowing out Robin Boyd and Frederick Romberg. Eric Eastbrook (played by Jeff Turnbull) interviewed Roy Grunts (Clive Fredman) and Robbin Boyd (Robin Cuming) around a model of the art gallery, the skit parodying the architectural posturing of the time.

The Ballets were dance pieces designed by Glen Brady and then Sonny Chan who were outstanding choreographers. The group would choose music to generate ideas and rehearsals would be held in the concourse creating palpable enthusiasm for the shows.Each Revue would begin with the national anthem – which would come in for some tweaking. One year students were lowered from the lighting beams in plastic raincoats and another year a student, Niels Hutchison, playing an upright piano, was raised from the orchestra pit. The audience’s reaction to a range of ‘anthems’ would incite further hilarity from the cast. A short student-made film would be shown just before interval. The sets for the productions were incredible. Bill Mitchell designed beautiful staging in 1964 which lit wonderfully, “he would just do them!” said Jeff. Peter Rowe was a marvellous stage manager.

Jeff Turnbull was involved in the Revue from 1956 to 1961. He directed the Revue in 1964 and co-directed in 1965 and 1968 with Darrell Wardle. He last directed the Revue in 1971 and 1972. Notable performers who went on to pursue careers in comedy and acting include Alan Hopgood who was an excellent stage manager, Sue Ingleton, Rod Quantock, Steve Blackburn, Alan Pentland and Geoff Brooks. The Revue’s demise after 1987 occurred at a time when student numbers started to increase and industry requirements made it difficult to devote time to it. It is sadly missed. APostscript. A double cd of 11 of the Archi Revue films was compiled for the recent 1964 reunion. The films include from ‘Mouldies’ from 1953 to ‘Waltzing Matilda’. “We would like to acknowledge Jeff as the film actor of a thousand casts – the Jeffrey Turnbull who appeared in more Revue Films than anyone else IN THE WORLD. Like Caruso they couldn’t retire him.” – Peter Jones

— Atrium, 2008 no 7

The University of Melbourne Architecture Department's Productions

  1. Architect’s Revue

    The University of Melbourne Architecture Department

    Musical (1958)