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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Theatre Review: Keating! The Musical We Had To Have

Keating! (Yes the title has a ! like Oklahoma! does) is a musical about the Australian politician Paul Keating, and it is a fine musical indeed.

The message behind this song-and-dance journey through Keating's political career is that it is the voters, not the politicians, who decide who stays in the top job of the Prime Minister of Australia, and that John Howard's reign over us for so long has made us afraid to accept any real change to policy by the government. Paul Keating was a visionary who looked to the future, John Howard, was, and still is, looking to the past to make it the same as it was before Keating's reforms.

The songs are memorable, featuring Paul Keating in a tap dance, Alexander Downer in fishnets (a reference to Alexander Downer's participation in a "guess who's legs" competition while wearing a fishnet stocking, opening him to ridicule), Cheryl Kernot's duet with her lover she had an affair with, and a tribute to the Mabo Decision.

Paul Keating's style of politics is depicted in creative ways. The insults he gave the Opposition take the form of a political rap battle, and his charm is shown in him shaking hands with the audience as the Opposition Leaders try to distract their attention.

I give this musical 10 out of 10. It deserves it.

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