THERE’S a brand new captain on the helm of the ship of state and The Wharf Revue staff couldn’t be happier.
“Searching for Albanese” is the title of the present, a twist on the title of Melina Marchetta’s book-film-play, “Searching for Alibrandi” and it offers the satirical trio of scriptwriters, Jonathan Biggins, Drew Forsythe and Phillip Scott, an opportunity to tug out all of the stops as they search for the actual Albo.
It’s a aid after a 12 months of disasters, which they catalogue: inflation, rising rates of interest, battle in Ukraine, local weather catastrophe, tradition wars, COVID-19-20-21-22-23, a looming World Conflict III and, probably worst of all, the cancellation of “Neighbours”.
Opposite to the promotional pictures being touted which present them as a line-up of showground clowns, they’re focusing their joint consideration on one particular person this 12 months.
“We’re all having a go at enjoying Albanese,” Jonathan Biggins tells me by cellphone from Sydney.
One such shall be “Albo in Wonderland”, the place he frocks as much as deal with Forsythe enjoying the Pink Queen of Queensland – now who might that be?
One other of the Albos is in an aged-care house, however that’s executed with a light-weight hand, Biggins says.
It’s a superb 12 months for Amanda Bishop who, though she will’t play Pauline Hanson as a result of Forsythe does it yearly, will get to play Alice/Albo, reprises her fashionable Julia Gillard and Jacqui Lambie roles, then performs Tanya Plibersek, Katy Gallagher and Allegra Spender.
A showstopper for her shall be an look as Peta Credlin, by which guise she sings Maggie Smith’s seductive quantity, “I’ll Make a Man of You” from Joan Littlewood’s “Oh, What a Pretty Conflict” in The Wharfies’ model, “Oh What a Tradition Conflict”.
As for the music, their Mr Music, Scott, has simply mastered the spoof, “Inside West Facet Story”, the place his flying fingers can deal with the Bernstein numbers, however has been discovering difficulties with a quantity the place they seem as Inexperienced Wiggles.
Forsythe is the one member of the staff who at all times seems one thing a little bit extra sombre. Lately he’s been seen as enjoying Rupert Murdoch each as King Lear agonising on the heath and having fun with a chat with Mephistopheles, in addition to the late Queen in her darker moments. In 2022 he turns his consideration to Afghan refugees – and that’s no laughing matter, Biggins says.
Management might be the binding motif of this 12 months’s Wharf Revue, so we’ll get to see Biggins as soon as extra stride the stage as Donald Trump. However with a couple of new ruler to deal with, he’ll have a brand new function as King Charles giving an deal with to his loyal Australian topics.
“Searching for Albanese”, The Playhouse, October 24-November 5.
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Ian Meikle, editor