Revue is a theatrical entertainment comprising dance, song, sketches, mime, and improvisation. It is usually satirical and topical. Reference to the form is first found in Planché’s Recollections (1872) when he claims to have been responsible for the first revue on the English stage: a work called Success: or, a Hit if You Like It (1825). But this was no more than a review of productions in the previous season. The first revue in the modern sense of the term was Under the Clock (1893), by Seymour Hicks and Charles Brookfield.
In the early 20th c. this kind of entertainment became very popular, and so it continued to be during the First World War. In America, revue started up with the Ziegfeld Follies in 1907. Since then the vogue for revue has waned little. Famous names associated with it have been C. B. Cochran, Noel Coward, and Herbert Farjeon. Notable successes have been Apple Sauce (1940); New Faces (1940); Rise Above It (1941); Sweet and Low (1943); Oranges and Lemons (1949); Airs on a Shoestring (1953).
In 1961 was produced Beyond the Fringe, a highly successful attempt at satirical revue which had considerable influence; especially, for instance, on The Royal Commission Revue (1964). Other well-known instances have been At the Drop of a Hat (1956) and At the Drop of Another Hat (1962), both devised and performed by Michael Flanders and Donald Swann.
Also read; A short note on Layamon’s famous poem Brut