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Year of the Abbott: satire on stage

After bringing laughs to the Sydney Fringe with Australia Votes 2013, political satirists Timothy Hugh Govers and Shane Addison are back with a brand new show Year of the Abbott for Sydney Fringe 2014. The show covers education reform, possible ways to rejuvenate Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s popularity, and a guest appearance from self-funded retiree Deidre Flick. We asked Govers and Addison a few questions about what they have in store.

Political satirists have certainly had a lot of material from the last 12 months. What will you be covering in the show?

Federal Parliament will obviously be at the centre of it, but we’ll be looking at the other tiers of government too.

The States deliver above and beyond every year, but local Governments don’t always get the notoriety they deserve, which is a shame because that’s often where the most unhinged stuff really occurs.

Obviously there’ll be a lot of Clive involved — in fact the working title for next year’s show may or may not currently be “The Year of the PUP”. It’s no coincidence Arnold Schwarzenegger’s bringing the 2015 Arnold Classic to Australia — that’s clearly Clive’s doing. Particularly with a state election in Queensland looming next year.

It won’t all be smooth sailing for Clive though, we could be wrong about this but we’re hearing murmurs that Jacqui Lambie’s is preparing to mount a leadership challenge, but it’s not just Jacqui he’s got to watch – “The Year of the Wang” does have a nice ring to it.

We’re also going address Speaker Bronnie; peruse as many of this year’s political biographies as time permits, conduct some interviews and conduct our own Royal Commission into reforming the Australian electoral system.

But the honest truth is we’re never quite sure if the show has been finalised. Every time we think we’re done a NSW MP emerges from ICAC or Mike Carlton sends another email and it’s back to the drawing board.

The government has been looking at potential reforms to the education curriculum. What suggestions do you have?

We’re very concerned that children are unable to engage with poetry so we’d like to see some of the more erratic poems penned by Bob Ellis added to the English curriculum. In fact we’d like to see some of Bob’s works added to other subjects’ curriculums; “Goodbye Jerusalem” would fit nicely into legal studies as a defamation case study.

We’ve also noticed Kevin Donnelly has proposed the re-introduction of corporal punishment. That’s good, but we’re suggesting he raises the stakes ever so slightly to include capital punishment, thus reducing class sizes and achieving massive government savings.

How did the “Year of the Abbott” go so wrong? 

We don’t accept the premise of your question.

Is there anything you can suggest which might help Abbott rejuvenate his popularity?

Conservative leaders seem to be out of favour the world round at the moment. David Cameron is languishing in the polls, Mitt Romney is even less than a footnote and Silvio Berlusconi is only just staving off gaol time. Still, we managed to find one conservative politician who is still very popular: London Mayor Boris Johnson. We want to explore how Boris has managed to take a habit of getting tongue tied in interviews and babbling incoherently and somehow turned it into an asset. If Abbott can master Johnson’s technique even John Hewson might vote Liberal at the next election.

Who exactly is Deidre Flick?

Deidre Flick is a self-funded retiree from Mosman. A withdrawn creature by nature, one day she unexpectedly found stardom as a guest caller on the Alan Jones program and hasn’t looked back since. Deidre is thrilled of course that “the adults are back in charge” but she is very angry at how unfair the ABC been towards Mr Abbott and especially nice Mr Pyne. She has no shortage of ideas to make the world a better place, many of which are almost as well thought out as Sarah Palin’s and she’s generously decided to lend some of her time to Year of the Abbott.

Year of the Abbott is at the Chippendale Hotel from 6 to 27 September as part of the Sydney Fringe.


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