In this never-ending election campaign, with uninspiring candidates bashing refugees and the most exciting point of note is an ad that indicates the Liberals think tradies where gold watches, there seems little to smile about. So the satirical show Australia Votes 2016, which premiered at the Harold Park Hotel in Glebe, Sydney on June 24, provides some badly needed relief.
The show was put together by the same team behind The Book Of Kevin and The Year of the Abbott — and features faces who've appeared in The (un)Australian: Live and Libellous Sydney Comedy festival show and last year's Green Left Weekly comedy show.
The same pitch perfect impersonations of Tony Abbott (Jonas Holt) and Kevin Rudd (Nathan Lentern) that earned previous shows much of their praise are back — with Lentern adding an equally accurate, if almost unbearably smug, Christopher Pyne.
The shows best bits come at the start and end. It opens with lower North Shore “self-funded retiree” Deirdre Flick (Brent Thorpe) on the phone to shock jock Alan Jones. Delving into an array of blue ribbon prejudices, Deirdre turns on those horrible homosexuals, who, she says “are just not decent people like you and me, Alan”. Not that she is a bigot, it is just those “in-your-face” Newtown gays (with “all their fisting”) that bother her, as you simply “get a better breed of sodomite on the North Shore”.
The show ends on the highlight of Holt's Abbott, without losing his stuttering, sentence mangling mannerism, busting out a rap — “I like big cuts and I cannot lie”.
The show specialises in mining the pomposity of politicians, and the absurdity of their arguments, for laughs. It hits in various directions — Umit Bali plays a Donald Trump spokesperson as enthusiastic as the ideas he defends are crazy and a Jacqui Lambie Network member was suitably bamboozling — all held together by a “veteran political commentator” played with alacrity by Tim Govers.
The show felt like it had some opening night issues, feeling a little ropey in parts and suffering from some technical issues with sound. But overall, it was an enjoyable experience to watch the mostly rich bastards in suits getting skewered. Faced with the state of Australian politics, it is better to laugh than to cry.
[Australia Votes 2016 is on July 1 & July 8 at 8:30pm at Harold Park Hotel.]