Closing out an epic 20-year run, outlasting six prime ministers and countless political gaffes, Riverside Theatres will present the premiere of Sydney Theatre Company’s The Wharf Revue: Good Night and Good Luck, as Jonathan Biggins, Drew Forsythe and Phillip Scott say farewell to the Wharf Revue from 26th-28th November.
I found this hard going. I am sure that it didn’t help that I had seen Neil Simon’s ‘The Odd Couple’ the night before. Samuel Beckett’s play just felt so bleak and heavy part of me just wanted to exit early.
This is the next best thing to actually attending an Evening with Paul Keating. As Jonathon Biggins says in the program, “I like to think of this show as the first three dimensional autobiography written by someone else.”
Through the show there is the use of a slide show with pics of his early life and then notable politicians and events in his life. This adds intimacy to the evening.
I found the show both very informative and highly entertaining. There are just so many stories, it is almost overwhelming with Biggins talking in a rapid fire fashion. At one time he says to the audience, “come on people, keep up. There’s going to be a test at the end”.
Did you know that Paul Keating is an avid Tom Jones fan and that they shared a bit of a friendship?! This is one of the times that Biggins bursts into song singing ‘Why, why Delilah”. I enjoyed the times when, during the show, he burst into song. It lightened up the evening.
As did the many witticisms, some of which were Keating gems, others Biggins’ own rapier like wit. Keating had a healthy ego such as his remark, ‘this was the greatest achievement of my career. Then again why narrow it down.” As against Biggins own witty remark, ‘She’s a NIDA graduate. There goes another HECS debt that won’t be paid back.”
There’s a lot of did you know’s through the show. I knew that Keating is a big classical music fan. His parents soundproofed his room so that they didn’t have to heart the music blaring. He was also a rock music fan and a bit of a rock entrepreneur, trying to get bands good contracts before he changed direction and started to get involved in politics.
Biggins covers so much territory. Keating is a big Jack Lang fan and the great Labor man generously gave him his time. Lang told him, “You will never be a leader unless you have a host of enemies.”
There are plenty of references to Keating’s economic reforms, some of which went over my head, and I am sure others in the audience.
Other Keating quotes. “I’ve always been drawn to beautiful things”, which accounts for Keating’s love of beautiful suits and watches.
“I went off giving State Funerals. When I gave one to Kerry Packer, it took the gloss off it.
We learn of Keating’s fondness for political colleagues Bill Hayden, Lionel Bowen and Bill Kelty, who was instrumental in getting our current superannuation laws. And Keating was a good hater. “Being a fan of Andrew Peacock is like being thrashed with raw tofu.” And Reg Withers, “I am not a proctologist, but I know an arsehole when I see one.”
There are reference to Keating’s view on indigenous issues and his famous speech in Redfern. And there’s reference to Bob Hawke reneging on his handover of power deal with Keating. It’s all there in this show!
The show has been well directed by Aarne Neeme with stage design of Keating’s apartment by Mark Thompson, lighting by Verity Hampson and sound and video design by David Bergman.
So much to take in! Go and see the show for yourself and take away your own favourite memories. THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO PAUL is playing the Everest Theatre at the Seymour Centre until Saturday August 3, 2019. Mondays to Saturdays at 7.30pm and there are also matinees on Saturdays at 2pm.
From Wollongong to Wyong, from Port Macquarie to Penrith and Parramatta, Jonathon Biggins has been touring his wildly acclaimed play throughout New South Wales.
Wherever Biggins takes this show he performs nearly always to deserved full houses. Paul Keating is unique in that he has had two shows written about him that are highly entertaining ie that is Keating The Musical and now The Gospel According To Paul.
I must declare my bias in that I am a huge fan of Paul Keating. I used to watch question time in Parliament to witness Keating’s wit and viciousness. In this regard I am similar to President Suharto who although he was a dictator would obtain tapes of Paul Keating performing during Question Time and as a result relations with Indonesia became warmer. Continue reading THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO PAUL @ THE PLAYHOUSE→
Direct from the Parliamentary Despatch Box, the Sydney Opera House today announced that renowned satirist Jonathan Biggins will tackle one of Australia’s most memorable Prime Ministers, Paul Keating, in a highly anticipated new comedy, The Gospel According to Paul.
Audiences are invited to set their Antique French clocks for a satirical masterclass in the Playhouse from 13-18May as Biggins distils Keating’s idiosyncrasies, focussing on key biographical milestones, landmark political achievements and personal obsessions.
The Gospel According to Paul paints a comic, insightful and occasionally poignant portrait of Keating, the man that – as he tells it – “single-handedly shaped contemporary Australia”. Biggins delves into the life and times of the abrasive and erudite Labour Party leader who trained at the knee of Jack Lang, treated economics as an art form, demanded we confront the wrongs of our colonial past; and, perhaps most fascinating of all, shared a great love of the arts and classical music in particular. Continue reading THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO PAUL→
Jonathon Biggins’ usual way of sharing his take on the world, in particular the world of politics, is through the Sydney Theatre Company’s annual revue show, the Wharf Revue, a platform which he shares with fellow collaborators, Drew Forsythe and Phil Scott.
This time, however, he has gone solo with a new play simply titled TALK, and it is his take on the state of the media in today’s world. He himself has been a media player, having been for a time, a very laid-back, laconic broadcaster on Sydney’s 2BL.
Biggins main character, radio shock jock John Behan, is anything but laid-back. Gung-ho and well irresponsible would be a much more apt description. On his radio program Behan has read out the criminal record of an alleged sex offender whose case was before the court. The police come knocking on his recording studio door, ready to arrest him for contempt of court. When his producer advises him of the situation, he locks himself in his studio and continues broadcasting, ranting and revving up the community. Continue reading TALK : A NEW PLAY BY JONATHON BIGGINS @ THE DRAMA THEATRE→
Jonathon Biggins has written and directed a very funny fictional play about an organising Committee set up for the upcoming Australia Day celebrations in the made-up beachside town of Coriole in rural Australia.
The Committee sees itself as a very significant organisation and takes its responsibilities for organising choirs, dance groups, the march, the citizenship ceremony and the visiting dignitary for Australia Day with the utmost earnestness.
Also of concern for the members is the Mayor’s push for pre-selection at the next election, and the presence of a newly arrived Green’s representative on Council who has some new fangled big city ideas about broadening the appeal of the celebrations to embrace multiculturalism and voluminous minority groups. Continue reading AUSTRALIA DAY @ GLEN STREET THEATRE→
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