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.